Could psych meds kill?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs

Drug counseling.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Taking your medication could kill you or someone else.

When we think of drug-related deaths we think first of illegal street drugs and overdose deaths but in fact, legal drugs or medication kill a lot more people than the illegal ones. Psych meds do result in deaths and serious injury.

Several recent studies have highlighted the dangers of taking prescription medication and driving. The problem of impaired drivers includes those taking prescribed psychiatric medication. A recent large study in Taiwan confirms what other studies in the United States have suggested. There is a definite link between taking some, but not all, prescription psychiatric medication and serious car accidents.

At the top of the list for possible danger is sleeping medications. Sleeping pills have been implicated in episodes where people who have no history of substance abuse still had a “black out” and drove without a memory of taking the trip. Now we have evidence that people who take sleeping pills are more likely to be involved in serious accidents. Even if you do not feel impaired you may be at risk. The person who is in no shape to drive is also the person who can’t tell if they are impaired.

Anti-anxiety medications particularly Benzodiazepines have been involved in a number of cases of serious car accidents.

Antidepressants are also present in the system of people who are involved in accidents in a disproportionate number of car crashes. Why antidepressants should be involved is still unclear.

Surprisingly the recent studies have not shown any significant connection between antipsychotics and accidents.

It is not those diagnosed with paranoid-schizophrenia but the anxious-insomniacs who are crashing into us.

My guess is that the increased use of the newer atypical antipsychotic medications has resulted in people with psychosis leading better, safer lives.

Another overlooked factor in accident prevention has been the association of marijuana smoking and serious car accidents. Most people know about the connection between alcohol and accidents but weed?

Studies have shown that the majority of drivers involved in serious accidents are positive for marijuana (THC) at the time of their accident. Either smoking marijuana is increasing your risk of an accident, or most people these days are smoking weed.

Regardless of your feelings about marijuana, drug legalization or decriminalization there appears to be a connection between being high on weed and getting in an accident. So if you smoke I would prefer it if you stayed off the road, especially while I am out there.

So now we know more about this subject of medications, drugs, and driving.

It is not just illegal drugs or alcohol that can impair your driving ability, prescribed drugs including some psychiatric ones also can increase the risk of you hurting yourself or others while driving.

The combination of prescribed medication, street drugs and or alcohol, is just asking to be in a serious accident.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Grandma is the drug connect.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs

Drug counseling.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Grandparents are some teens drug supplier of choice.

Medicine cabinet.

Bathroom medicine cabinets. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Grandmas. along with grandpas, mothers and dads are becoming the major suppliers of illicit drugs for today’s teens. Grandma may not know it yet, but the drugs she supplied could put her grandkids in the hospital emergency room. This hasn’t happened just once; it has occurred repeatedly all across America. Teens are getting their drug supplies by raiding the old people’s medicine cabinets and dresser drawers.

This is not an isolated incident. Abuse of prescription medications, popping the old folk’s pills, is replacing Methamphetamine as the drug of choice for today teens in many places across America.

Kids have always raided the old folk’s stash, purloined the liquor and smoked dads weed, but this is different and more ominous. Kids are ending up in emergency rooms from overdoses of unknown prescription medication. Frequently the teens don’t know what they have taken. Not the pharmaceutical names or the consequences. With the rapid increase in prescription drugs on the market the standard drug tests don’t begin to detect all the life-threatening drugs or combinations teens may have taken.

Combine unknown prescription drugs with alcohol or the new synthetic drugs and the results can be fatal. The casualties add up at an ever more rapid rate. Today’s teens are more likely to become addicted to prescription painkillers than to illegal street drugs.

The liver may work hard, but put alcohol in the bloodstream and that poor little liver is overwhelmed. It just can’t cope with all those pills. Lots of bad things including death can happen.

We try to control this. At least I hope doctors are trying. When they see someone who is abusing prescription drugs, or just that grandma is using too many, they may not write more prescriptions. Grandchild’s supply may dry up.

Deprive a hooked person of their prescription Opiates or Opioids and it is a short progression to the illegal ones. You can buy the pills on the street, but Vicodin and Oxycodone sold at the bus stop don’t come cheap.

Teens in my town have caught on to smoking heroin to avoid the withdrawal symptoms from the prescribed opiates. Smoking heroin gets expensive fast. They soon find that most of the potency goes up in smoke. So the new connection, the one grandma never expected, is all too ready to show the new addict how to assemble a rig and how to shoot up a vein.

There is a solution to the problem of keeping kids out of the old folk’s pills. Lock the meds up and keep the key a secret. Unfortunately, we older types forget where we put the key. We also don’t remember that there are leftover meds for all sorts of things, in cabinets, drawers and on the kitchen table. We used to have to take these pills but stopped taking them. We still have pills left.

Some people try flushing them down the toilet. Not recommended. It does all sorts of things to the environment. There are other ways I have heard of, but I won’t tell you about those ways here as they are also not recommended.

There is a much better solution. Surrender unused medication at the next:

NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY on April 28, 2012.

A list of the collection sites is found at: Collection sites. 

Please consider – This is no small thing!

Over the last 13 months, the American public has turned in almost 500 TONS of unneeded prescription drugs. That is – for us non-math majors just short of ONE MILLION POUNDS of drugs that were lying around the house. These were drugs that might have ended up sending your kids or grandkids to the hospital emergency room or worse.

Please turn your unneeded drugs in and don’t become the next grandma drug connect.

This post was featured in “Best of Blog – May 2012

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.