Drugs, Doctors and Death: Heath Ledger Becomes Another Victim

Saturday, February 23, 2008 General News
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TARPON SPRINGS, Fla., Feb. 22 Throughout the past decade,Florida Detox(TM) has successfully treated over 5,000 addicted patients.Interestingly, Florida Detox(TM) has seen an exorbitant increase in the ratioof patients using prescription medications, compared to patients using illicitstreet drugs. Ten years ago, 50% of our patients were addicted toprescription pain medications. In 2007, 95% of our patients were treated forprescription medication addiction. The recent surge of deaths derived fromdoctor prescribed medication has far surpassed the overdose prevalence relatedto illicit street drugs. This alarming trend has recently come to lightsecondary to the tragic death of Hollywood celebrity Heath Ledger.

This Hollywood actor allegedly overdosed from a combination of physicianprescribed opiate pain medication, such as Oxycontin(R), Vicodin(R), orPercocet(R) and a benzodiazepine (Xanax(R), Klonopin(R), Valium(R)) class ofanti-anxiety medication. The combination of these two classes of medicationcan produce a synergistic effect causing respiratory depression and overdosedeath.

Ironically, the majority of adult patients treated for addiction atFlorida Detox(TM) have been prescribed both classes of drugs by their doctor.Many of these patients state that their "pain doctor" simply asks them whatopiate or benzo they want, spending less than five minutes with them, duringtheir visit. These patients become dysfunctional at work and home secondaryto decreased cognitive ability. Many experience short-term memory problemsand frequently forget how much medication they have taken. This phenomenoncan precipitate accidental overdose, as in the case of Heath Ledger.Unfortunately, many physicians fail to closely monitor the patient's decliningmental function.

Our clinical research demonstrates that patients who "feel more normal" onthe combination of these sedating medications typically suffer from anunderlying anxiety disorder. These anxiety disorders are usually biochemicalin nature and can be effectively treated with non-addictive medication, ifproperly diagnosed.

Men like Heath Ledger, who suffer anxiety and insomnia disorders,frequently have genetic deficiencies of serotonin or excess production ofdopamine, glutamate, phenylethylamine or histamine. The increased prevalenceof depression, anxiety, and insomnia disorders in America is multi-factorialand correlates directly to the exponential growth of pill popping patients.Both patients and physicians are responsible for creating America's addictionepidemic.

SOURCE Florida Detox


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