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Pierce Egerton
Pierce Egerton
Attorney • (800) 800-4529

Michael Jackson, Painkillers, and Injury Victims: A Cautionary Tale

7 comments

Reports are emerging that Michael Jackson’s death may have involved overuse of prescription painkillers such as Demerol. It was widely reported that Michael first became addicted to prescription drugs in the 1990s while recovering from a painful burn he experienced during the filming of a Pepsi ad.

TMZ.com is reporting that Jackson family members and others have been worried for quite some time that Michael was unable to perform as a result of drug use. TMZ also reports that police are trying to locate the physician who administered an injection containing Demerol to Jackson shortly before his death.

Sadly, I’m not surprised. Our firm has represented accident victims for many years. Often people who have suffered painful injuries are prescribed highly addictive medications. Most of the time physicians and medical staff carefully monitor their patients’ use of painkillers.

Sometimes, however, highly addictive drugs are prescribed and not closely monitored. When this happens injury victims with no history of illicit drug use can find themselves powerfully hooked on prescription drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently released a survey showing a 23% decline in illicit drug use over the last five years. However, the report shows that abuse of prescription drugs is on the increase.

We encourage our seriously injured clients and their families to stay informed about medications they receive. We also recommend that they closely question their doctors and pharmacists about the potential side effects — including risk of addiction — of any medication they are prescribed.

7 Comments

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  1. Frankie says:
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    Well. As addicting as they are. Some if us can’t funtion without them. I have tried oxycodone, oxycotin, ms contin IR and ER, fent patch and hydrocodoneplus restoril for sleep. With the patch and hydro ( some shots begin next week, I hope it works), in patient. Also I got married and theses meds mess with testostitone so I pray theses shits work and I can go through a ptogramto get off these pills. But I need these to function as my body is otherwise in a lot of pain.

    Peace.
    And be pain free if you can and for all thoses that fear, may you be comforted this week and have a plan that works

    Be blessed.

  2. Frankie says:
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    Woo. Sorry for cursing. Am typing on iPhone. Anyway, one word should be “should”

  3. Frankie says:
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    Opps. Lol. , I mean shots. Hope shots will work.

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    No problem Frankie. I hope you like your iphone as much as I like mine! I absolutely agree with you that modern pain meds can be a true blessing for folks with acute or chronic pain.

    My point is that its important to carefully monitor those patients’ painkiller intake. Sadly this isn’t always done. Thirty-nine states have now created electronic tracking systems for these drugs.

    In my practice I’ve seen several injured clients become addicted to medications prescribed after an accident. Most of these folks are hard-working family people who would never think of trying an illegal drug.

    I do appreciate your comments, Frankie. I should have made more clear how important the careful use of pain medications can be in reducing suffering for victims of serious injury. Thank you for pointing that out. Have a great weekend and I hope your medical condition improves!

  5. Jackie says:
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    Your cautionary advice regarding use of pain meds is well-founded, but it is advice with a lot of strings attached; strings attached to the current conditions regarding access to health care in this country; strings attached to working conditions, the economy, society’s response to the infirm and/or disabled. Once one faces a debilitating condition associated with chronic pain, it produces a ripple effect that only pain medication can subdue.

    I have lived with chronic and debilitating pain for more than half my life and over 35 years. Were it not for pain medication, I could not have provided my children with appropriate time and care; I wouldn’t have been able to meet my daily responsibilities, nor would I have been the productive kind of individual that society demands. As it is, I lost a thirty-year marriage and home to chronic pain, but I am certain that – without pain medication – my life would have been void of those few things I cherish most. When I reached my limit after 35 years and applied for SSDI, the bureaucracy and policy of systematic denials ruined me. I lost everything to medical debt while waiting for the system to work.

    The lack of single-payer health insurance necessitates the need for employment; you must work if you hope to have health insurance. But how does one find employment or keep employment when suffering chronic pain? I’ve worked many jobs while suffering pain. There is a limit to which our bodies can be pushed.

    Finally, in the tragic case of Michael Jackson; I believe that he suffered both physical and emotional pain: a deadly combination into which pain medication enters. Walking the tight-rope of using pain meds requires vigilant attention and the voice of reason to balance. Michael Jackson lacked the balance to keep the pain med use in check. Because he surrounded himself with enablers, he lacked the responsible professionals who should have known better.

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    Thank you for your comments Jackie. Your story is a perfect example of one of the many pitfalls in our health care system that can devastate an individual or a family.

    My in-laws are from Canada and are understandably very reticent about traveling in the U.S. They fear that they might be injured in an accident or fall ill and face the horrors of US health care. They worry that they might not receive treatment or that the treatment they receive will be substandard. They also worry that the cost of treatment will decimate their retirement savings.

    Your story shows how our system can devastate our own citizens. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I also understand your point about the benefits of pain medication for those suffering chronic pain. You and Frankie are right on target there.

    I believe you make the key point when you mention the necessity of balance and responsible professionals. When pain medications are prescribed, monitored and used responsibly they can make a huge difference in the lives of those suffering debilitating pain.

  7. Jackie says:
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    Thank you Mr. Egerton for your thoughtful response, and for sharing your personal perspective regarding the Canadian healthcare system; it further validates my belief of how the fear mongers with hidden agendas of self-aggrandizement will perpetuate health care horror stories north of the 49th parallel. In addition, I appreciate your thoughts and well wishes.

    Hoping that the current media frenzy surrounding the issue of pain medications does not add further burden to those living with chronic pain,

    Jackie