Prescription Drugs: How much is too much? Heather Ryan Story Part 1

West Palm Beach, South Florida ( – News Report) — The Florida Medical Examiner’s Commission has determined prescription medication deaths statewide were three times higher in 2007 than deaths from illicit drugs. How much is too much?

We think nothing of the minor “fender bender”. Many of us have experienced or witnessed these annoyances in our daily hustle and bustle of life. The rear-end tap at the traffic light, the backing up in the store parking lot, the quick swerve to avoid an obstacle…the list goes on. At the time of the car accident, we get out of the car thoroughly annoyed and infuriated. We certainly did not have time for this today. Both parties are up and walking around, exchanging insurance information along with niceties and obscenities. We drive by these people and see them circling the vehicles to assess the damage. How many times have we witnessed these events??? Everyone seems okay. Just one of those days.

Fast forward 24 to 48 hours later…the person who was rear-ended wakes up and feels like a truck ran them over. The neck pain and low back pain is shocking. The legs are weak and movement is strained. They end up in the doctor’s office, if they can get an appointment, or in the emergency room wondering, “Why am I in so much pain. This is unusual. It was just a minor fender bender. He wasn’t even going that fast”.

Fast forward 12 months…this same person, involved in a minor fender-bender has bulging/herniated disks. Has gone through conservative, and in many cases surgical intervention in an attempt to control the pain. They only want life to be what it was before the accident. They keep going for treatment but the pain doesn’t go away. The missed days from work keep adding up. The inability to participate with family and friends continues to take its toll. “If only the pain would go away.” Pain management physicians begin treating with the appropriate medications to control the pain. This is where it becomes rather grey.

Narcotics are prescribed for pain along with anti-inflammatories. Then comes the anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills due to the side effects from the pain medication and the inability to sleep from the injuries. The injured parties keep going to the treating medical team to reduce or control the pain. The doctors keep prescribing, the patient keeps going to the doctor, and the pain still doesn’t go away.

How much is too much? I often ponder this question as a registered nurse. In the last year, I find myself asking this question frequently. I continue to review countless pages of medical records of numerous clients and potential clients. I also keep treating patients presenting with long lists of multiple pain medications in rather large doses. It seems I am starting to see a trend. To be continued….. Check Part 2 soon.

By: Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and staff writers for Justice News Flash. To learn about her please visit her web profile

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