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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

What is Drug Abuse?


Almost every person who is addicted to drugs first began by abusing drugs. Abusing drugs is defined as “intentional misuse, overuse, or habitual taking of legal or illegal drugs.” With illegal drug abuse often occurs fairly fast. As the user begins to use more their tolerance increases and they require more of the substance to get ‘high’. The drug abuse may begin as a once a week occurrence and escalate to a few times a week, then becoming a daily habit. In the case of legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescription medications, the drug usage often begins moderate and may stay that way for long periods of time before reaching the abuse stage. Alcohol abuse occurs when the person starts drinking more than a mild amount, drinking to intoxication and drinking more often than usual. The CDC defines alcohol abuse as “the misuse of alcohol; drinking over 5 drinks per day.” People usually fall into prescription pill abuse through a valid prescription from the doctor. The drug abuse begins when the person begins taking the pills more frequently than prescribed or taking more pills than prescribed. When this occurs, the person often goes to get more prescriptions, extra refills, or buys the pills off the streets. All of the forms of drug abuse described have a common theme, it involves an intentional misuse or overuse of a substance to bring about intoxication or get high. People abusing drugs may even require detox or medication to come off of the drugs.

What is Drug Addiction?


Psychologists define drug addiction as a physical dependency and/or a mental obsession towards using a certain substance. In earlier posts I have defined how people with addiction become addicted to drugs; through the dopamine reward pathways and pleasure center of the brain. Basically, the brain becomes used to the chemicals and actions that the drugs have on the brain. Eventually, with chronic use, the brain starts to become dependent on the drugs and stop producing its own natural chemicals. That is why when the addicted person stops they go into withdrawals, since their brain is not producing the chemicals naturally. Most people with addiction also have a mental obsession towards the drug. This means that they spend large amounts of time and energy a.) thinking about using the drug b.) finding or obtaining the drug c.) using and intoxicated by the drug. When forced to go long periods without the drug, the addicted person often becomes irritable and thinks about the next time they will get to use.

So What’s the Difference?



Posted by on in Drug Addiction


Medicines and drugs are designed to make people feel better. But when they are defective, the same medications can lead to deadly consequences. The world still remembers the horror of “Thalidomide Babies,” in the early 1960s when babies were born without arms or legs. The over-the-counter drug thalidomide, which was first marketed in West Germany in 1957 as the “only non-barbiturate sedative” of the time. It was largely used by pregnant women to deal with morning sickness. The makers claimed that the drug is ‘completely safe’ even for mother and child. Unfortunately, the drug lead to a severe birth defect crisis called phocomelia to babies born to mothers using thalidomide during the early days of their pregnancy.

Even recently, Pfizer’s antidepressant med Zoloft was linked with birth defect. Although the company claimed that Zoloft is safe and was not known to cause congenital heart problems, one of their own scientists recommended changes to its label warnings. Pfizer is fighting over 1,000 lawsuits against Zoloft, stating that the antidepressant drug triggered heart abnormalities to new-born babies whose mothers used it during pregnancy.

There are many such stories where medications, instead of making our life better and alleviate pain and illness, caused further harm and injury. If this has been a case with you or someone you know, you too can pursue product liability lawsuits and obtain compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering. When you are seeking damages for defective drugs, you are not fighting only for yourself but also ensure that others don’t suffer a similar fate in the future.

Dangerous & Defective Drugs – The Role of FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for administering the safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and medical devices. It not only gives approval to new medications before they hit the market, FDA is also monitors drugs that are currently available on the market. The agency sometimes issue recalls, especially when unforeseen problems arises once the medication/medical device is in widespread use. According to a study published in ABC News, FDA issued around 1,734 drug recalls between 2004 and 2011.

There were 91 Class I recalls during this period, indicating those drugs could have caused serious harm to the patients, including death. Out of these 91 Class I recalls, 34 percent were known to have affected over 100,000 units of a drug. Besides, 64 percent of the recalled drugs between 2004 and 2011 had been already distributed nationwide. The study also reveals that 40 percent of these recalled drugs were contaminated, whereas 25 percent of them were linked with wrong doses and/or release mechanisms. The remaining drug recalls were due to mislabelling or product mix-ups.

Although in most cases FDA responds fast enough to minimize harm, the agency unfortunately learns of a dangerous or defective drug only after patients suffer injury or damage. While recalls are usually voluntary, they often come late as the pharmaceutical industry uses a self-reporting system to report the adverse side effects of a prescription or over-the-counter drug to the FDA. These reports are issued by the drug manufacturers.

When Can You Seek Damage for Defective Drugs?

Defective drugs fall under product liability claims. And just like any product liability lawsuit, manufacturers and sellers are liable for ensuring the safety of their dangerous and/or defective drugs. There are several reasons why a drug is termed as defective or dangerous, these include:

Manufacturing and design problems
Improper marketing
Insufficient or inadequate safety warnings
Failure to proper clinical trial testing
Mislabeled medications

To file a defective drug lawsuit you need to first prove that the pharmaceutical company has negligently or knowingly allowed the dangerous/defective drugs to enter the market, which lead to the injuries. In addition, you can also sue the doctor or the clinic/hospital for prescribing the defective drug to you. If you fail to reach a settlement with the pharmaceutical company and other defendants, you can go for a trail to receive compensation for injuries and damages you have sustained. The financial compensation include:

Pain and suffering
Past and future medical bills and expenses
Punitive damages
Lost wages

You can either file the claim individually or join a class-action lawsuit as defective drugs usually affect a large number of people. While joining a class action has various advantages, those who have sustained serious harm should pursue an individual lawsuit especially if your case has special circumstances or the nature of your injuries are different from others.

Determining Your Claim

If you suspect you have a case of defective drug injury, the first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor and seek medical attention immediately. This will help you prevent further damage. Once you have obtained proper medical attention and if the doctor and other medical reports confirm that the injury was due to the defective drug, contact a defective drugs attorney right away and verify your claims against the pharmaceutical company and/or other defendants.

Also note that defective drugs claims differ from medical error or malpractice claims where a doctor or any other medical professionals fail to meet the required standard of care and/or have administered the wrong medication or dosage. You can file a defective drugs lawsuit only if the injury was the result of a pharmaceutical drug you have used.

Statute of Limitations

Just like any other product liability case, you have a time limitation to file your defective drugs lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations and this time limit varies from state to state. For example, you have 4 years’ time in Florida to file a defective drugs lawsuit but if you are talking to a CT defective drugs lawyer, he/she will advise you to file the claim within 2 years.

There are, however, certain exceptions to allow you to file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has run out. Some common circumstances include:

Physical or mental incapacitation of the plaintiff
The injury wasn’t discovered until a later time
The plaintiff was under the age of 18 and his/her residing jurisdiction allows one to file a lawsuit only after their 18th birthday


Defective drugs claims usually involve complex and sophisticated medical and legal knowledge. So if you want to effectively represent yourself, it is recommended to hire a lawyer who not just specializes in product liability claims but in drug cases as well. An experienced drug lawyer will make it easier for you to win the claim.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Rebuilding your life as a recovering addict is not easy. There are many facets to the recovery process including rebuilding personal health, self-esteem and relationships that have been damaged by addiction.

Some recovering addicts require vocational supports to help them address employment needs. Depending on the individual, their career opportunities may be limited due to drug related misdemeanor or felony convictions. For others, finding employment that they are qualified for in a compassionate environment that provides ongoing support is difficult. While programs exist, the average employer may be less willing to hire someone with prior drug convictions even after they have stabilized and recovered.

There are many stigmas and assumptions about hiring addicts and the prejudice can further complicate an individual’s recovery. Recent surveys have disclosed that employers should be less concerned about hiring a new recovering addict and more focused on evaluating which current employees may need help with illicit drug addictions.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

NeverEnding Emails—The Transformative Gift that Keeps On Giving 

In 2005, my daily use and addiction to alcohol had become extremely inconvenient.

Translate: I began puking blood.

It became painful to even attempt to drink anything, much less vodka. Since alcohol was never my drug-of-choice (DOC) to begin with, I sought after another way to fill the spiritual void. Painkillers were what I wanted. They were not only my DOC, but my preferred entry into what I can only describe to non-users as "the bliss."

The difficulty with painkillers is you need a prescription. I have ulcerative colitis; it's currently in remission because I'm much healthier today. Back in my using days, I'd visit doctors, seeking to acquire, acquire, acquire. Regularly. They caught on eventually.

That meant that I needed to find another source. For me, that source was tramadol.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

In the last year there have been several studies/stories about the risks associated with benzodiazepine abuse.  And while benzodiazepines have been prescribed for decades to treat anxiety and seizure disorders,  the possible threat of overusing them is real and with that comes dependency, overdose and the potentiality of death.  Did you know that since 2010, there have been 6,507 US drug overdose deaths that involved benzodizepines?  Because of this rising number, FRN created an infographic to help familiarize those about benzodiazepines but most importantly help create awareness regarding the possible addiction with benzodiazepines.

Broken down in four sections, the  infographic ( goes into detail about the following:

- What are benzodiazepines: their brand names and the amount of prescriptions filled in the US in 2011, the number of related ER visits in 2010 and the confiscations by law enforcement for each associated drug.

- Why prescribe benzodiazepines, specifically the disorders that are treated

- Common side effects and contraindications with benzodiazepine use


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

It’s been four years since I emerged from rehab, blinking into the new light of sobriety, a shivering, puking, frightened wreck. That terrified wreck is still inside me, I don’t suppose she will ever go away, and I don’t suppose I will ever want her to – it’s that part of me that keeps me sober. Keeps me sane (ish) and centred, no matter what life throws at me. But what has recovery given me? What have I learnt so far?

Recovery has given me everything – a life. End of.

It has also given me everything that comes with a life ie a profound realisation of my failures, my fears, my insecurities, my disappointments and expectations, my long-held resentments, my pride, my vanity and, for good measure, my greed. It has given me loss, a deep grief which has become a treasure chest of wisdom, and hope as clear and sharp as a sunny winter morning. It has given me difficulties and strife, chaos and uncertainty punctuated by glimmers of deep resonance, kindness, friendship and love in every possible permutation. It has given me, me.

So, today, sitting here with four years’ of sobriety and (relative) sanity behind me, and a present filled with opportunity and potential, I want to share these small pearls of wisdom gleaned from the recovery trenches:

1) Sometimes you need to do the wrong thing to get to the right place


Posted by on in Drug Addiction




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