JJ Shufelt Wisconsin

Antibiotic Resistance

Evolution, one of the most beautiful things to ever happen. But will it lead to our downfall? Bacteria are evolving faster than ever before, and this is going to be a major issue.

Dear next president of the United States,

I am a highschool student in Wisconsin. One field I have been very interested in has been science. This year I took AP Biology, and really enjoy it. We have recently been talking about evolution, and how it occurs. One major problem with evolution comes with bacteria. They are continuing to become resistant to bacterial medicines. On order to avoid, or prolong, life without antibiotic effectiveness, we should limit the use of them, make more precise diagnoses, and work harder for new medicines.

One main cause of antibiotic resistance is the overuse of antibiotics. We use them on cattle and produce to keep them safe. We also use them too much in the medical field. The scientific american said, “In countries like India people will give you antibiotics prophylactically, as a way to prevent infection.” The use of them not to fight any specific bacteria, but just to prevent them, allows bacteria to evolve quicker, and then spread out faster among the large population. The scientific american also stated, “agriculture uses antibiotics in feed to fatten up the cattle—that’s an abuse of antibiotics.” They directly stated that we are abusing the use of antibiotics. Not giving them to our crops and cattle, or at least reducing it drastically, will prolong the age of inoperative antibiotics.

You ever go to the doctor for a cold and they give you antibiotics? That is completely wrong. The common cold is actually a virus, which antibiotics have no effect on. That's why nobody can ever “cure the cold”. C. Lee Ventola said, “Incorrectly prescribed antibiotics also contribute to the promotion of resistant bacteria.” If we were to prescribe antibiotics only when people have a bacterial issue, evolution would be slowed down. That would allow us more time to come up with better medicines for the future. Ventola also stated, ”Studies have shown that treatment indication, choice of agent, or duration of antibiotic therapy is incorrect in 30% to 50% of cases.” With such a high error percentage, we are bringing the age of useless antibiotics closer. If we were to prescribe correctly and bring this number down, we could buy some time to create new drugs.

Lastly, we need pharmaceutical companies to invest more into finding these new drugs that could save the world. Ventola said, “Of the 18 largest pharmaceutical companies, 15 abandoned the antibiotic field.” I understand that they are afraid it won’t work, or that the cost will be too much. But is it that much to risk when the health of the world is at stake? Ventola also said, “Therefore, new antibiotics are often treated as “last-line” drugs to combat serious illnesses. This practice leads to the reduced use of new antibiotics and a diminished return on investment.” We need the big companies to keep producing the newer drugs, and doctors to use them a little more frequently so that the companies can make some money so that they can keep researching for new medicines.

Thank you for the time spent reading. I hope you understand my concerns and will act upon them. 

Wauwatosa West High School

Wauwatosa West American Public Policy

All juniors are enrolled in a required civics and public policy course called American Public Policy. The capstone project is the Issue Investigation - students identify an issue that can be solved by the creation, modification, elimination of a public policy. Student letters are their first research step in the Issue Investigation process.

All letters from this group →