Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Prescription Drugs, Driving, and How They Cause Spinal Cord Injuries

Many people have no choice but to take prescription drugs to manage certain medical issues. While we may despise having to rely on pharmaceutical drugs to maintain our health, we also frequently forget how many side effects they cause.

If you’re not paying attention to the side effects of your own medications, it’s time to look at the labels carefully. Your pharmacist should give you warnings about side effects, though it’s easy not to fully understand the risks many medications bring to the table.

A major problem is getting behind the wheel of a car after taking these drugs. You could end up hitting someone, and causing horrific injuries. This could happen to you as a pedestrian or motorist via another driver impaired by their drug prescriptions.

Prescription Drug Accident Statistics

Recent statistics from Tampa Bay show we’re seeing more fatal car accidents occurring due to prescription drugs. This now exceeds alcohol in causing deadly car crashes. With a major opioid addiction problem growing both in Florida and nationally, you can see what’s partially to blame for these accidents. While we already see far too many people here dying of opioid overdoses, many prescribed these drugs are also traveling our roads.

The catastrophic after-effects of these type of accidents are painful to detail. However, it’s important to acknowledge what kind of injuries you or another person may face in these accident scenarios. You’ll also want to see which prescription drugs are the most dangerous in impairing driving ability, to take adequate precaution against potential accidents in the future.

How Car Accidents Can Cause Spinal Cord Injuries

Other than head trauma, the most tragic type of nonfatal injury in car accidents is a spinal cord injury, or SCI. According to medical statistics, car accidents are the leading cause of SCI on a national scale. While some of these accidents are the result of natural misjudgements by a driver, adding prescription drugs to the mix creates worse situations.

Considering body paralysis makes the victim’s life beyond difficult, you can see why drug-related accidents need more attention. If you’re in an accident with potential spine damage, you need immediate medical help. Medical personnel at the scene usually use a rigid neck collar and a rigid carrying board to keep your spine immobilized. Once you’re transported to the hospital, they’ll work to maintain your breathing, prevent shock, and continue to immobilize your neck.

In the event they discover you do have a spinal cord injury, they’ll typically send you to the ICU to start treatments. For many patients, this may mean being transported to a spinal injury center for more specialized care.

Car Accidents from Taking Antidepressants

Did you know antidepressants are one of the most common prescription drugs that could cause serious car accidents? Statistics continue to show antidepressants can impair the thinking ability of drivers and cause vehicle crashes. Past studies showed these drugs do alleviate symptoms of depression, yet still can lead to impairment on a physical or mental level.
These are alarming reports considering how widespread antidepressant use is. A large percentage of Floridians take these drugs, and may not realize the risk posed to other drivers when motorists fail to acknowledge their own possible impairment.

Antidepressants are far from the only type of prescription drug potentially causing car accidents. Many other legal drugs are prescribed or purchased over the counter daily with a very long list of side effects.

Potential Accidents from Taking Decongestants

It’s already known that decongestants can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and dizziness. All of these can quickly impair your driving ability, even when driving slowly.

Traffic often becomes a problem on Florida roads from tourists and rush hour commuters. Having any of the above symptoms from a simple decongestant prescription could mean plowing your car into another in an intersection, or striking a pedestrian or bicyclist due to drowsiness.

When these collisions occur at high-speed, it increases the chance of the victim suffering a permanent injury like SCI for life. Remember, many decongestants are often bought over-the-counter: seemingly innocuous drug can nonetheless lead to a major disaster.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

We’re living in times where anxiety has become more prevalent, or at least more recognized. As a result, more people are being prescribed anti-anxiety medications to live a more normal life. Even if these do work for many people, the side effects would often require a long scroll.

Much like antidepressants, these type of drugs cause symptoms like tiredness, blurred vision, confusion, and nausea. Any of these can create a profound effect on how well you drive. Driving on a highway here in Florida could make things extra dangerous, considering you could collide with someone going over 65 mph.

Last year, there was talk to reduce the speed limit on state roads to avoid these kind of accidents. That debate is still up in the air. Nevertheless, the ability to stop someone using anti-anxiety medications from driving is virtually impossible. No matter what speed you drive while taking prescription drugs, you can still cause an accident severe enough to permanently impair the victim.

Sleeping Pills

As much as opioids are a serious problem, so to are people becoming increasingly addicted to sleeping pills. The drug Ambien has become one of the biggest culprits in causing car crashes in other states. Here in Florida, studies have gone on for years determining what Ambien does to people when they drive. Various DUI incidents occurred due to drivers having Ambien (otherwise known as Zolpidem) in their blood/urine tests. Undoubtedly, many people are still traveling our roads with Ambien or similar sedatives in their system.

Finding Immediate Legal Help

If you’ve just experienced a serious SCI injury from a car accident caused by a driver taking prescription drugs, contact us at Dolman Law Group. When it comes to spinal cord injuries, you’re going to need strong legal help to guide you through the maze of hardships ahead. Call our Clearwater office at (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation, and meet with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to discuss your case.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

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