The ebb and flow of concern about addiction

One of the things about keeping a blog that is focused on a specific topic, is that you get to see how people’s interest in that topic changes.

This blog gets a flood of hits when a celebrity like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan gets arrested for possession of drugs or a DUI. When someone dies, be it Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, or Michael Jackson, we get an even bigger spike. Sadly, when a new law passes, or if a drug-story makes the front cover of the New York Times or some other large publication, we get a spike too, but not quite as large.

Worrying about addiction when it’s right

All of these things are too be expected; they’re a byproduct of the media frenzied culture we’re all a part of (if you’re reading this right now, you’re part of it too). We love celebrities as a reflection of everything we aren’t, everything we want to be, and everything we’re glad we’re not. Sure, life is great when you have lots of money, fame, and fans, but when you fall flat on your face and the moment is captured by dozens of readied cameras, we’re more than happy to watch, make fun, and secretly revel in the fact that at least our missteps aren’t broadcast worldwide.

But one of the things I didn’t expect as much was the spike in readership towards the end of every weekend.

It should be obvious, right? People get royally destroyed on Fridays and Saturdays, and by Sunday, my biggest readership day, they’re worried about the consequences on their well-being. While drunk, high, or in the middle of a full-blown internet-porn masturbation party, few care about implications, education, or reality. It’s when the effects of all those wear off and that first post-party look in the mirror takes place that we all find our humility, shame, and motivation to change.

I’m not writing this as a criticism, merely an observation. It’s as if even those in the throws of the disease, or those who care most about it, become most concerned when the dust settles a little. Maybe one day I’ll get around to doing some research on the way this translates to treatment. As some of you already know, All About Addiction is about to introduce a new rehab-finder tool that will allow everyone to go online, fill out an assessment form, and get customized placement in one of almost 12000 addiction providers in the United States. I wonder if we’ll see the same pattern – people looking more on Sunday than any other day; trying to right their wrongs with a final plea to god, through their computers, that maybe today is their last day screwing up their lives.

I’ll make sure to get more help on thoe days if that turns out to be true.

Brittany Murphy dead at 32 – Anemia, pneumonia, and yes, drugs…

Toxicology update

Well, it seems the toxicology reports are in and Brittany’s death was, at least partially, caused by her taking of multiple prescription drugs. Still, it seems that she was trying to medicate a host of conditions brought on by her underlying anemia and pneumonia. It’s sad to think that this death could have likely been prevented had she simply taken better care of herself and gone to seek emergency care rather than loading her body with those pills. Unfortunately, this seems to be another in a string of medically preventable deaths… Sad.

Original post:

Brittany Murphy, the actress from “Clueless,” and “8 Mile” died last night at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills at the age of 32. Brittany has been rumored to be suffering from severe eating disorders, and recent pictures seem to support that notion. Given that she apparently died from cardiac arrest, I’m wondering if drugs (even prescription drugs) played a role in the death as well… I’ll keep updating the story as more becomes available.

My heart goes out to her family and friends. Certainly a loss suffered far too early.

UPDATE: According to the police report, a number of prescription drugs were discovered in Brittany’s bedroom including (read past the list for my take on this):

  1. Topamax –  While TMZ reported this drug to be used as anti-seizure medication, it is also used to reduce weight-gain associated with the use of many other prescription drugs on this list. Lastly, it is considered to be a mood stabilizer.
  2. Methylprednisolone – An anti-inflammatory that may be used to treat bronchial infections
  3. Prozac – A commonly prescribed SSRI anti-depression med.
  4. Klonopin – A benzodiazepine anti-anxiety prescription medication that is also used to help with insomnia. Like most benzos, the probability of overdose is low if used properly, but overdose would lead to cardiac arrest.
  5. Carbamazepine – Another anti-convulsant mood stabilizer often used to treat bipolar disorder. This prescription drug can be very dangerous when combined with other medications due to its actions on GABA and extensive alteration of Sodium channel activity. It is also a bipolar med.
  6. Ativan – Once again a benzodiazepine that is often used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
  7. Vicoprofen – A pain reliever that includes an opioid (it sounds like vicodin for a reason).
  8. Propranolol – Prescription med used to treat hypertension and as an alternative, less habit-forming anti-anxiety drug.
  9. Biaxin – An antibiotic.
  10. Hydrocodone – Same as Vicoprofen, an analgesic (pain reducing) prescription drug.

What do I think killed Brittany?

With 2 benzodiazepine medications, 2 opiates, and antidepressant, and a drug that is made to lower one’s heart pressure, it’s no wonder that Brittany was found not breathing. I’m going to wait until the final toxicology report to draw a definite conclusion, but from this list, it seems highly likely that a dangerous combination of these prescription drugs was taken, which resulted in Brittany’s heart stopping. Even when taken at their prescribed strengths, these medication, when combined, can form a lethal cocktail.

You should ALWAYS check with your doctor regarding interactions between different prescriptions you’re taking, especially when those medications haven’t all been prescribed by the same physician!

Steven Tyler deals with pain killer addiction by checking into rehab

After the recent death of Michael Jackson, and possibly Brittany Murphy, due to prescription drug overdoses, Steven Tyler, the lead singer of the mega-band Aerosmith, has checked himself into rehab for pain-killer addiction.

Many pain killers commonly used are opiates (which are very similar to heroin), and many chronic-pain sufferers resolve to taking such drugs in high quantities and for many years. Such use can easily lead to dependence and serious withdrawal symptoms.

We wish Tyler all the best in his rehabilitation efforts. Stay strong Steven!