Taking any medication chronically has to be weighed against side effects, drug interactions, contraindications, the discipline of the patient to take their Rx, etc. Let's look at just a few cases of long term therapy:
blood pressure-I take an ACE inhibitor class drug to keep my mild HTN (hypertension) down. The side effects are mild but it has sufficient clinical evidence to convince me of its benefits in reducing my risk of CVA or MI. However, other classes of drugs used to treat HTN can cause other side effects. For instance, if you take a thiazide diuretic you have to watch your potassium intake because it makes you pee out K. A low K (hypokalemia) can be life threatening and induce an MI or Ventricular Fibrillation (V-fib).
tuberculosis- If you don't take your Rifampin, your TB may become 'active' to where your coughing can spread the germs and infect those around you as well as hasten the destruction of your lung tissue (or heart, brain or wherever the disease has settled).
diabetes- in type 1, your beta cells of the pancreas have quit making insulin so without it, you die. You must take it to survive. In type 2, your pancreas is not behaving so you take oral agents to make it behave but you still need it to survive. It just takes longer (1-2 days usually) to slip into a diabetic coma: diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or non-ketotic hyperosmolar coma (NKHC). If you take your insulin or oral agent but fail to eat, you can very quickly get hypoglycemic and gork out. This is a true medical emergency as you have minutes to get sugar into them whereas the comas come on slowly and take days of re-hydration with insulin to correct. Either type will result in death without the proper meds.
anti-coagulant therapy- there are many reasons to take such drugs and these are rather tricky and dangerous. Too much or too little or the wrong foods, stressors, injuries, etc. and you're in deep trouble. Let's say you survived a pulmonary embolism (PE) and were placed on Coumadin. Your job requires you fly frequently across country or sit for long spells. You can develop clots in your legs or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that can result in another clot breaking loose. The next stop is the lungs after passing through the right side of your heart then another PE. What do you do? Change jobs, walk around frequently, wear anti-embolism stockings, do lower leg exercises every few hours or walk, change the type of chair/ cushion so there is less impedance of venous return when seated, watch what you eat, and yes, take rat poison. If you've have it once, you stand a high probability of a repeat, at least for awhile. Other factors may include sex hormones, smoking, etc.
Congestive heart failure- This is where you already have had that MI or other pathology that has weakened your heart. The pump cannot eject as much as comes in so it backs up into the lungs causing shortness of breath, hypoxia (reduce oxygenation), and strain on the already weakened heart pre-disposing it to another MI. Therefore, the classic therapy was to take digitalis such as Lanoxin, which treats these symptoms along with some other benefits. We have a lot of newer better drugs but they are all geared towards reducing the workload on the heart, assist the heart with increasing its ejection fraction and cardiac output for a given load vs. effort, reducing electrical dysrhymias and reducing the oxygen demand on the heart. Without these drugs, patients usually have a reduced quality of life as their "get up and go" got up an went. They get short of breath at little exertion (dyspnea on exertion or DOE), may experience angina or chest pain on exertion, tire easily and their lower legs swell (pitting dependent edema). These drugs improve quality of life while reducing the chance of death.
Now, psych drugs are in a whole other category. Rarely can you say a single psych drug is life-saving. They are used to treat symptoms and control behavior. However, since these issues are immensely complex with many interactions and unpredictable changes this is why so much of the psych community fails to help people and often trades one disorder while creating another. We can talk for years on the evils and failures of this branch of medicine yet this is the bunch everyone thinks are the solution to the gun control debate? No, fix society and you'll reduce the number of whack-os. Then, for the remainder, we have armed self defense as our last resort. Government caused the problems with society and now wants to strip us of our last means of defense. No thanks.
Granted it is our education system that has helped to create some of the issues.
You can't take kids out of a world where they basically have no authority over them as both parents work, where the kids play video games and watch TV all day, and put them in a new world where for seven hours a day they are placed in a seat and told to shut up and listen.
These kids are living in two or more realities.... TV land, game land, and school land.....and instead of making school more interactive, we shove pills down their throats.
I'm not saying that government is completely innocent, but there are other people responsible for the downhill slide of society.
Well... I know in my area... certain behavior issues REQUIRE adaptive drugs... or you go not get to attend school.
So yeah... I guess the govt CAN force you to take ADD and ADHD drugs.
An ass whoopin would cure most add and ahad whatever....kids.....