Archive for the ‘Heath Ledger’ Category

Taking Dangerous Drugs in Ways Never Proven Safe, Effective

January 16, 2009

Americans (and many others) are so ready to find “medical solutions” to their troubles that they’ll try just about anything. 

And American drug makers know this and want your money.

Amy Winehouse and Heath Ledger remind me of the ravages of drug use and abuse.  But there are daily reminders in our pop culture and many of us see daily reminders among our families and friends.

In this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, file photo, British singer, Amy ... 
Amy
Heath Ledger’s legacy is not “Brokeback Mountain” or “The Patriot” or family and children and happy memories.

Sadly, Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of six drugs — painkillers and sedatives.  “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylaminediazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” said the medical examiner’s spokeswoman.
.

Heath Ledger

Thursday, drug maker Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, plead guilty to charges so egregious they’re criminal: marketing the sometimes dangerous drug in ways never proven safe or effective.

This is called “off label” use of druge: using drugs for purposes not intended and beyond the scope of safety testing.

America has a growing crisis of drug use, addiction, and mis-use of doctor proscribed medications….

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By Sharyl Attkisson
CBS News

Alicia Adams started taking Zyprexa for bipolar disorder when she was just 18 years old. In a matter of months, she ballooned from 93 pounds to 170 and developed severe diabetes.

“The depression got worse,” she said. “I closed myself off from everyone – stayed in my bedroom. I didn’t do much of anything.”

Thursday, Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, plead guilty to charges so egregious they’re criminal: marketing the sometimes dangerous drug in ways never proven safe or effective, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Zyprexa is only FDA-approved to treat a specific bipolar disorder and severe schizophrenia. But millions have taken it for unapproved or so-called “off label” use, including:

  • children in foster care
  • people who have trouble sleeping
  • elderly in nursing homes.Prosecutors say Eli Lilly engaged an army of thousands of sales representatives in widespread illegal marketing.They were “trained to use the slogan ‘five at five,’ meaning five milligrams at 5 o’clock at night will keep these elderly patients quiet,” said Laurie Magid, acting U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania.Problem is: Zyprexa has serious side effects including weight gain, diabetes, even heart failure.

    Shahram Ahari is a former Eli Lilly sales rep and told his story for an education project for doctors.

    “Seizures, things like that have happened as well. And those are, you know, pretty catastrophic side effects to have in your patient,” Ahari said.

    Read the rest:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/15/cb
    snews_investigates/main4725873.shtml?source
    =search_story

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    Gaining a Lasting Legacy from Those that Died in 2008

    December 24, 2008

    Sometimes, there is a lasting good when someone passes.

    Heath Ledger entertained and  enlightened me.  Mostly he enlightened.

    As we near the end of this year, we often think about the rich and famous who have enlightened or entertained us.  I am thinking about Heath Ledger and Tim Russert: both enlightened me much more than they entertained.

    And both have a lasting legacy in my mind….

    Cocaine is a “party drug” right? You want it after you’ve been thinking and drinking.

    But that is really bad thinking.

    Heath Ledger’s legacy is not “Brokeback Mountain” or “The Patriot” or family and children and happy memories.

    Sadly, Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of six drugs — painkillers and sedatives.  “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylaminediazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” said the medical examiner’s spokeswoman.
    .

    Heath Ledger

    This sent me on a months long journey to discover the impact of mixing so many dangerous drugs.

    The results were frightening but probably completely predictable: most medical doctors say the risk of mixing so many dangerous drugs if frightening to the extreme. Even mixing a few can be and often is deadly.

    “If you come in on alprazolam (Xanax) I know what to do.  If you come in using Xanax and alcohol and Ambien you have created a very difficult dilemma for me.  How much, when, what have you eaten?  If you come in with various types of drugs in you; you create, sometimes, a gordian knot the physician is ill euipped to deal with.”

    That’s a quote from one of many M.D.s we interviewed.  All had experience dealing with people who had ingested several drugs over time.

    “There is just no good outcome to mixing drugs.  Your friend Heath Ledger is the epitome of that,” said a doctor to me.

    A friend of mine, already addicted to alcohol and cocaine, was recently hospitalized.  While there, a doctor prescribed oxycodone and hydrocodone.  We moved him to another facility after consulting other medical professionals.

    And treatment, once one is hooked, will be frightening, prolonged and painful.

    “If you can just get me to rehab I’ll be O.K.”

    We’ve heard that time and again.  Rehab is not nirvana — the state of being free from  suffering.  Rehab is often just a way-station. 

    Getting clean and sober takes time, effort, commitment and sometimes, a lot of money.

    But it is worth it. If one achieves lasting recovery.

    Britney Spears performing at the National Mall during the “NFL Kickoff Live 2003” Concert.

    The alternative is death while you are still young.  You’ll miss the party completely.

    Lots of Hollywood types and entertainers have been dealing with drugs.  This should put us all on notice that drugs and alcohol are life threatening.  Just this year we’ve seen Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Ryan O’Neil and many others in trouble with drugs.

    So we write this as a caution as we all prepare to “celebrate” Christmas and New Years. Don’t mix drugs during the holidays: or at any other time.

    Related:
    Dangerous drug combos pose risk for elderly

    Substance Abuse In America: Treatment Rarely A “Cure”

    Lasting Legacy: Tim Russert Made Me Think

    Video at CNN:
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/15/yir.20
    08.passages/index.html

    John E. Carey
    Peace and Freedom

    Ryan O'Neal
    Ryan O’Neil

    ********************

    There is a huge likelihood that a teenager you know shares these following things with Heath Ledger and Britney Spears: Vicodin, Oxycontin and Xanax and the belief that since doctors prescribed these they are OK to use.

    But what few grasp is this: doctors are not saints.  Several told us that they prescribe drugs quickly so they can get to the next patient faster.

    Add to this people who mix drugs, take more than is prescribed, mix drugs with alcohol, mix drugs without the primary care physician’s knowdge and “doctor shop.”

    You end up with addiction, other illnesses and death.

    Sadly, Heath Ledger’s Dad knows this too well.

    “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy,” he said.

    Intervention is that course of action that stops an abuser or an addict dead in their tracks — before death knoks on their door.

    If you know someone who needs care due to drug (including alcohol) addiction or abuse: take action.  Show your love by causing an intervention.

    You’ll regret looking the other way for the rest of your life.

    Related:
    Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger

    Drug Abuse Usually Starts At Home

    Singer Amy Winehouse: Court Ordered Rehab

    Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert – Super Bowl Weekend Dangers

    Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

    Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/galleries/nota
    ble_deaths_of_2008/notable_deaths_of_2008.html