The Unintended Dangers of Prescription Painkillers

Every day there are forty-six deaths in the United States attributable to a prescription overdose. In 2011 alone, 16,917 overdose deaths involved opioid pain relievers, with 31% of the deaths including benzodiazepine sedatives as well (CDC WONDER, unpublished data, 2014). In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Although many injuries and medical conditions require pain medication as treatment, prescription drug overdose has become an epidemic in the United States according to the Center of Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden. Prescriptions have increased 400 percent in the last decade. Nebraska has the third lowest drug mortality rate in the United States, however does little to curb prescription drug abuse.

One reason there is such a problem with overdosing on prescription drugs is overprescribing. Unfortunately prescription opioid abuse kills twice as many people as heroin and cocaine combined, and new studies suggest that 3 out of 4 people with a dependence on heroin began with prescription painkillers. Some states have begun to institute a prescription drug monitoring program in order to deal with the problem. In 2013, New York saw a 75 percent decline in the number of patients obtaining painkillers from multiple subscribers after instituting a monitoring program.

If you have an injury requiring prescription drugs, you can avoid falling into the addiction which leads to overdose by taking your medication exactly the way it is prescribed.  Read more

Should I Stop & Render Aid to Accident Victims?


We have all done it.  We see someone who has had an accident and needs help.  We stop and offer assistance.  Do we have to stop and render aid?  Can we get into any trouble if we do not?  What if we stop and render aid and do something wrong?  If you actually are involved in the accident, you must stop, ascertain the identity of all involved, identify yourself and render reasonable assistance to any injured persons including ensuring injured persons obtain transport to a physician for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent such treatment is necessary or requested by an injured person.  Neb. Rev. Stat. §60-697.   If you fail to stop and render aid, you risk  Read more

The Three Most Common Car Accident Injuries

One in every 46 Nebraska drivers will be involved in an automobile accident each year, according to the Nebraska Department of Highway Safety.  The most common automobile accident injury is neck strain, commonly referred to as “whiplash”.  Neck strain injuries often occur as a result of the impact felt when a vehicle is rear-ended.  Upon impact, the force of the rear vehicle reaches the driver causing the head of the driver to snap forward and then backwards.  Neck strain caused by this type of injury is often accompanied by other symptoms, Read more

Severe Bleeding Risk Linked to Xarelto

One of the newest blood thinners on the market, Xarelto, has been added to the list of drugs with dangerous side effects.  Xarelto was approved in 2011 as a potentially safer alternative to Warfarin, as Xarelto does not require regular blood monitoring or frequent doctor follow up.  Unfortunately, Xarelto has now shown to be on the same dangerous path as other blood thinners which have severe and lethal risks.  Xarelto was originally prescribed to prevent stroke or blood clots in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation and to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery.  Xarelto was expanded in 2012 to allow the drug to be used as a treatment for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of dangerous blood clots, caused by uncontrollable bleeding.  Patients who have suffered side effects from this drug can experience high medical debt from emergency visits to the hospital and the costs of ongoing care, as well as lost wages from time away from work.

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Making Summer Safer with Water Safety Tips

The holiday weekend brings friends, family and fun. This summer as you and your family resume swimming and other water sports, remember to be safe. Set water safety rules for your family and make sure you pay attention to weather conditions and forecast. When jumping into the water, jump in feet first, unless the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions. Never mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating as alcohol reduces the body’s ability to stay warm and affects your reaction time, swimming and diving skills.

Never leave a child unattended around water and always keep a phone nearby for emergencies. Remember that you may not always hear a child in trouble in the water as a child drowning is often not able to splash to alert anyone of trouble. Child drowning is a silent death so designate at least one person to monitor children in the water.   Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use as toys attract children to the water. Always remove pool covers completely prior to use. Don’t be afraid to use flotation devices with your children, however they are not a substitute for adult supervision.

If you will be boating, ensure that there are life jackets for yourself and every person in your party. Make sure someone who will stay on land knows when you leave, your expected route and when you will be back. If you will be skiing, ensure that you keep far enough away from the motor and any moving parts of the boat. Always carry a first aid kit, a flashlight and a whistle in the boat. Be sure that rafts and kayaks are in good condition and avoid areas where the water is very low or has large amounts of debris. Do not overload a raft or go rafting after a heavy rain. Tubes should be checked for stability prior to entering the water.

Water sports and activities offer a lot of fun for the entire family, if proper safety precautions are followed. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Firework Safety for Independence Day


The Fourth of July means many things to America, the most important of which is an opportunity to celebrate the freedom we celebrate in this country.  It is a time for family, friends and fun.  It can also be a dangerous time for children and adults.  Over 550 children under the age of 16 require medical care in the four weeks surrounding July 4th, with more boys than girls becoming injured by fireworks.  The majority of these boys are ages 12 to 15 years.  Although it is important to children to be involved with the fireworks, simple safety precautions can prevent major injuries.  First, remember that children require supervision and should always be kept a safe distance from any fireworks display.  Children under five are too young to safely hold a sparkler on their own and do not understand why the pretty colored wand is dangerous.  Likewise, a baby or toddler will reach for anything brightly colored so avoid holding a baby or toddler while handling fireworks or sparklers.  Even older children require supervision while handling sparklers.  It is also a good idea to keep a bucket of water handy to dispose sparklers in once they have burned out to avoid a child from picking up a hot one off the ground.

It is a good idea to have one designated person to set up and light the fireworks.  Adults should use a taper or firework lighter to light fireworks instead of a cigarette lighter and remember to hold fireworks at an arm’s length or place it on the ground before lighting.  Move away from the fireworks after you light it but be very careful not to slip and fall.  Never light a firework close to your face or loose fitting clothing and avoid drinking alcohol if you will be lighting the fireworks.  Fireworks can have delays in their burn cycles so do not approach a firework until at least one minute has passed since its last activity and do not try to relight a “dud” .    The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends wearing safety glasses when using fireworks and only lighting on firework at a time.  Bonfires should be at least 60 feet away from any building or structure, trees, hedges or fences.  Never throw fireworks into a bonfire.  It is important to ensure that you gather all of the spent fireworks after the display to prevent any burns, fires or any live fireworks from getting into the hands of children.  Make sure all fireworks are purchased legally and do not try to make your own fireworks as it is illegal and places you and your loved ones in danger.

Accidents happen so if you do experience a burn, flush it immediately with cold water for at least ten minutes and seem medical attention.  Never pull at clothing which may be stuck to a burn and make sure you keep burns clean and covered to avoid infection and aid in the healing process.  Remember that any burn larger than a postage stamp should be treated by a medical professional.  Remember this Independence Day that simple safety precautions can prevent your fun family celebration from becoming a trip to the emergency room. Have a safe and fun Fourth of July!