Articles Posted in Dangerous Drugs

Skin care is a major international business. A 2014 report in the New York Times detailed how South Korea has emerged as a major rival to the traditional European firms who dominated the “beauty market.” In particular, a wave of South Korean skin care products “intended to protect and heal patients’ skin after treatment”have hit U.S. markets. childhands'

Steroids in South Korean Cosmetics Leads to California Class Action

But consumers should always be cautious when assessing health claims made by skin care products. According to a recent alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, many skin care products should be treated as drugs, especially if they make “anti-aging” or similar claims.

We don’t often comment on the passing of well-known individuals on this blog site, but a recently reported loss made our team take a moment and think about all the individual did to help the injured and prevent countless more tragedies.  His crusade reminds us that medications are not without their dangers, even if they’ve made it through the rigorous FDA approval process.  Our San Francisco drug injury law firm would like to take a moment to remember Bay Area medical geneticist Dr. Edward Lammer for his pioneering work into birth defects and prescription medications.

Dr. Edward Lammer’s Crusade to Prevent Accutane-Related Birth Defects

Last Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle announced Dr. Lammer’s unexpected death on February 20 at the age of 62.  Before relocating to the Bay Area to work on the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, Dr. Lammer became known as of the first scientists to establish a link between Accutane, a popular acne drug, in pregnant women and severe birth defects.  He was the principal investigator in a 1985 study that found that women who used Accutane in the first trimester had nearly a 25 times greater risk of having a child with malformations.

firefighterYou have probably heard about the threat of fires and explosions linked to methamphetamine labs, but did you know that producing a potent form of marijuana poses a similar danger?  Experts in our region have linked a number of area explosions to the production of marijuana “honey oil,” also known as “hash oil” or “dabs.” The threat of injuries linked to honey oil explosions is a growing concern for our San Francisco burn injury lawyer.  Whether you favor full legalization, medical use only, or a total ban on marijuana, you need to know about this threat since it endangers both those involved in the drug market as well as mere bystanders.

Fire Officials Suspect Production of Marijuana Honey Oil Caused Petaluma Explosion

This week, ABC7 reported that fire officials suspect Monday night’s explosion of a home in Petaluma may have been sparked by butane gas used in the production of honey oil.  Just after 9 PM Monday, firefighters were called to a home near the corner of La Cresta and Haven drives.  At the scene, fire officials found light smoke along with signs of an explosion, but no active fire was present by the time the residence was cleared for entry.  Police report they questioned but did not arrest the only resident who was home when the explosion occurred.  Luckily for him, that resident suffered only minor injuries.  Fire officials report that the explosion caused about $10,000 in damage.  The cause remains under investigation, but fire officials say they believe the explosion was tied to the production of marijuana honey oil.

In modern day America, many working adults find themselves as a caregiver two times over, caring for their growing children and aging parents. Often the needs of aging parents become too great for their adult children to address on their own and, especially when physical or mental illness is an issue, a nursing home is the best option. However, while there are many places that provide excellent care, others are the stuff of nightmares. Overmedication in nursing homes is a major problem and it is one of the forms of abuse we help people fight as a San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyer.

NPR Reports on the Overuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

Last month, NPR reported on the problem of drugging in nursing homes, opening with the fact that almost 300,000 nursing home residents receive antipsychotic medications. These medications are approved for serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but are often used to suppress anxiety and pillhand.jpg agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is despite the fact that the medications carry a black box warning, the most serious warning a drug can carry while remaining on the market, indicating they can raise the risk of heart failure, infection, and even death when used by dementia patients. Even when they are medically indicated, these drugs should be used for as short a period as possible, often only a month. Still, as in examples cited in the NPR article demonstrate, many care centers use these drugs for the convenience of the staff because they can sedate patients and blunt behaviors. Guardians and patients often agree to the medications without knowing the drugs are unnecessary.

potleaf.jpgAmong the topics that dominated the news nationwide in 2014 was a growing shift in the laws involving marijuana. An increasing number of states have joined California in allowing medicinal use of marijuana and a few states have legalized personal recreational use. While federal prohibitions remain, authorities seem to be respecting state laws, at least on medicinal use. These trends make the issue of driving under the influence of marijuana even more relevant and of great concern to our San Francisco drugged driving law firm.

Legislature to Face Questions of Legalization & Regulation

Earlier this week The Sacramento Bee reviewed the key issues that California legislators will be facing in 2015. The paper included marijuana use on this list, noting that the state legalized medical marijuana two decades ago but has thus far refused to enact regulations dealing with marijuana cultivation, transport, or sale. However, advocates have won victories in other states and they are expected to push for recreational use in 2016. This year the legislature may be asked to rein in the medicinal use market.

Asked to imagine a drug theft, many Americans would form an image that includes the threat of violence and illicit substances like marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. Drug theft in 2014 often takes a much different form, a much “quieter” affair that happens on a daily basis in the Bay Area when a trusted individual slides a prescription bottle from a home medicine cabinet or bedside pillbottle.pngshelf into a pocket and is gone well before the missing vial is noticed. Prescription theft often targets seniors who may be left facing a frightening health crisis because of the missing medications. In fact, as our Northern California prescription theft attorney understands, whether part of a larger pattern of financial and/or physical abuse or a standalone event, medication theft can be a form of elder abuse, leading to unnecessary pain, uncontrolled illness, or even death and the culprits can be those whom the victim least expects.

Firefighter Accused of Swiping Medications

Usually when a firefighter makes the news, he or she is being hailed for bravery and heroism. This weekend, however, local and national news sources including Sacramento’s KCRA carried a very different tale as police announced the arrest of Sacramento firefighter Craig White on five counts of burglary and three of elder abuse. White allegedly targeted seniors, gaining entrance to homes by claiming to be performing inspections of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and then stealing prescription medications. Citrus Hills Police Department began investigating after eight area seniors reported similar incidents. The Sacramento Fire Department wants people to know that they do not perform surprise residential inspections.

Upon finishing medical school, newly minted doctors take an oath, promising to make patient well-being their top priority. Most doctors remain committed to this goal throughout their career. Sadly, however, a small number go astray and misuse their powers, usually for financial gain. Attorney Greg Brod, an Oakland prescription drug injury lawyer, works with families left grieving because a doctor fueled a dangerous fire and contributed to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Podiatrist Accused of Writing Prescriptions for Profit

prescription.jpgAccording to sources cited by the Contra Costa Times, a San Leandro podiatrist is facing charges involving the illegal sale of prescriptions, the same offense he was convicted of in 2008. District Attorney Nancy O’Malley of Alameda County said that Dr. Tan Nguyen wrote more than 5,000 prescriptions in the last year, mainly for highly addictive narcotic painkiller as well as tightly controlled muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety medications.

While it isn’t a war in the traditional sense, the War on Drugs has claimed countless victims. In addition to those who’ve died as a result of their own drug use, the War’s victims include babies born addicted, people killed in car accidents caused by drugged drivers, and those caught in the violence of the drug trade. Certain drugs pose their own unique threats, such as the risks tied to methamphetamine (aka “meth”) production. Our San Jose methamphetamine injury lawyer is available to help when a meth explosion injures or kills an innocent bystander in Northern California.

Major Drug Bust Nabs Two, Recovers Meth from Hidden Compartments in Suspects’ Vehicle

meth.jpgRecently, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people in a motor vehicle that contained 37 pounds of methamphetamine stashed in hidden compartments. As reported in the Oakland Tribune, the arrests of Juan Manuel Ponce-Chavez (age 22 of San Jose) and Norma Yolanda Juarez (age 28 of San Jose) followed an investigation that lasted several months. Police believe Ponce-Chavez is a major drug trafficker whose ties run from San Jose to Michoacan, a Mexican state with a reputation for being rife with drug cartels. Investigators place the wholesale value of the seized meth at over $200,000 and note the value is significantly higher when it is split into street-level sale quantities. The suspects are being held in Santa Clara County Jail on bail listed at $1 million for Ponce-Chaves and $500,000 for Juarez.

champagne.jpgWe hope that 2013 has been a wonderful year and that 2014 has even more in store for you and your loved ones. As you make plans to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, our Oakland injury attorney hopes safety will be a priority. While celebration safety messages are often focused on the danger of drunk driving, we’d like to remind readers that the danger of impaired driving extends beyond alcohol. Drugged driving, whether involving legal or illicit substances, can threaten the driver, other vehicle occupants, and everyone else who shares the road. It is a threat we take seriously and, while our firm is here to help those injured by impaired drivers on Northern California roadways, it is a danger we know is best addressed by putting prevention first.

Holiday Season a Grim Reminder of Drugged Driving Fatalities

The Oakland Tribune recently carried a reminder of the very real threat of drugged driving. The story focused on Melanie Bassi, a Connecticut woman who lost her mother, father, and grandmother in a holiday season accident six years ago. Police reports show the driver who rear-ended the family had consumed Xanax, consumed alcohol at a level below the legal intoxication limit, and also evidence of cocaine use prior to the crash. Bassi has spent the past four years campaigning for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a group whose focus includes drugged driving. She speaks to both high school students and prior offenders, sharing the loss continues to overshadow the holidays. Authors of the report note that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is working to reduce the incidence of drugged driving in the U.S. by 10% by 2015.

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It’s reasonable to expect that the medications we use to treat conditions should be safe to consume, but all too often San Francisco personal injury attorney Gregory J. Brod has been made aware of people who are sickened or worse by the drugs they take. And now, even one of the most common class of medications that millions of Americans rely on for relief, antacid drugs, may be hazardous to one’s health.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente researchers that was released Tuesday has found that the long-term use of popular antacid drugs for indigestion relief can cause a deficiency of vitamin B-12. In its untreated form, that condition, in turn, has been blamed for an increased risk of dementia, nerve damage, anemia and other potentially serious medical issues.

The study, which was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found participants who consumed a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors – commonly known to the public through brand names such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium – for a period longer than two years ran a 68 percent greater chance of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

The use of antacid drugs for the treatment of heartburn, stomach acid reflux disease and gastric ulcers has been fairly common in the United States since the 1990s, and many Americans typically take them for no more than the maximum recommended duration of eight weeks. However, some consumers have been taking antacids for much longer periods.

The vitamin B-12-linked conditions associated with long-term use of proton pump inhibitors seem to be triggered because this class of antacids does such a good job of shutting down the stomach cells responsible for producing acid – but those same cells are needed to absorb vitamin B-12.

While the revelations from the Kaiser study are new, the connection between the use of proton pump inhibitors and medical problems is an established one, including these findings from the federal Food and Drug Administration:

  • An FDA report issued in May 2010 found a link between the high dose, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors and the risk of possible fractures of the hip, wrist and spine
  • An FDA safety communication issued in March 2011 warned of the risk of low magnesium levels associated with the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors
  • An FDA safety communication issued in February 2012 warned of associated diarrhea linked to the use of proton pump inhibitors

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