Popular Anxiety Drugs Have Dangerous Consequences


Benzos are dangerous, especially mixed with other sedatives.

Many people are uninformed about the risks of popular anxiety drugs like Xanax and Valium, especially when mixed with other sedatives.

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died in February of an overdose from mixing heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines, or benzos. Benzos, which are mild tranquilizers, first appeared in the 1950s and ‘60s and quickly became a hit. They claimed to soothe overwhelmed, edgy mothers, and were nicknamed “mother’s little helper.” Today Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan remain on the market for treatment of anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia.

Many doctors say they don’t go a day without seeing somebody who is addicted to them.

15 years ago, most detox patients were alcoholics and the rest were addicted to drugs. Now, 90 percent of these patients are drug addicts whose drug of choice is often a combination of opiates and benzos. Both of these drugs slow respiration and are an extremely dangerous combination. These drugs used together make the other stronger, and are extremely dangerous.

The drugs take away any anxiety, worry, and seemingly all of life’s troubles, numbing a person from becoming troubled, or bothered, by anything. It is very easy to become instantly addicted to them, and to the temporary feeling of contentment they induce.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the combination of benzos and opioid-related deaths contributes to about 30 percent of opioid-related deaths.

Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction specialist with the Mercy Recovery Center in Westbrook, Maine, believes the risks associated with benzos is possibly overshadowed by the prescription opioid epidemic. Many people are unaware of how harmful they really are.

Initially thought to be free of negative effects, benzos are now known to carry risks of dependence, withdraw and cognitive effects.

Long term use can cause impairment in several cognitive domains: visuospatial ability, speed of processing, and verbal learning. Some reject this, however, claiming these symptoms are only temporary and can be attributed to sedation or inattention or peak plasma levels.

Studies were conducted around this debate and found that cognitive dysfunction did occur in patients treated long term with benzodiazepines. Even though this impairment did improve upon ceasing to take benzos, patients did not return to their original levels of functioning in the brain.

Patients should be advised of the dangers and effects associated with these drugs and the dangerous, deadly effects of combining them. Though daily functioning may not seem significant when using them, long term effects are likely, and you should be informed. Do your research and consult trusted physicians for more information. Be your own AdvoKAYte!


Distracted Driving Shatters Lives

Distracted Driving Kills Innocent Victims

Know the True Dangers

With car crashes being the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, it is imperative to show how distracted driving shatters lives so everyone can fully understand the risks faced while on the road.  Driving deserves the driver’s full attention because many lives are on the line while traveling on back roads, highways and interstates. There are many distractions that a driver may encounter while behind the wheel, but the leading one today is texting.

More than 70 percent of adults and teens have admitted to texting while driving. Research shows that the average driver takes their eyes off the road five seconds while texting. While five seconds doesn’t seem long at all, it is long enough to result in an accident that can shatter lives. As an example, if a car is traveling at 55 mph, five seconds gives them enough time to travel the length of a football field, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

Data released by VTTI also shows that drivers who become involved in visual-manual sub-tasks, which include texting, dialing or reaching for a phone, are three times more likely to get into a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2012 that 11% of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes that year were reportedly distracted during the crash.

States Enacting Laws

Many states have enacted laws that crack down on distracted driving, and more efforts are underway to promote the awareness of the dangers. The NHTSA reports everyday more than 1,060 people being injured and more than 9 people being killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in accidents that involve a distracted driver. These are injuries that could be prevented and lives that could be saved if the message just gets out detailing the actual dangers.

There are three main kinds of distracted driving – visual, manual and cognitive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Visual involves taking one’s eyes off the road, manual means taking one’s hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off what you are doing … driving. The instances of distracted driving in the U.S. are much greater than those reported across Europe.

Powerful Public Service Announcement

Several European countries have launched successful distracted driving campaigns that feature public service announcements aired on public television that show violent crashes resulting from distracted driving that involve serious injury and death. Because it seems as though those graphic ads have proven effective, the U.S. has now followed suit. The new ad campaign is kicking off National Distracted Driving Month.

The new PSA, which was done by The Tombras Group, targets teens. It is short and gets straight to the point while showing a car filled with happy teens driving down the highway up until the point where the driver gets a text message as the car is nearing an intersection. Of course, she darts her eye from the road for just a second, but that is long enough to run a stop sign and go directly into the path of another vehicle.

Perhaps those who view the new ad will wake up and become aware of the dangers of distracted driving. It is definitely riveting. With the theme, “U drive. U text. U pay.” hopefully teens will get the message. For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, visit JustPutitDown.com, my campaign to end this senseless act. Take the pledge and grab a free EBook to share with family and friends.


Texting and Driving Research Points Finger at Adults, Not Teens


Though teens have had the spotlight as reckless distracted drivers, research now suggests that adults seem to be texting and driving just as much. Teens have been the subject of many campaigns about safe driving and distracted driving habits, but new research says that adults might be more to blame than previously thought.

Distracted driving behavior has received a lot of attention lately as lawmakers look for ways to make it safer for everyone on the road. Teen drivers have a disproportionate number of accidents on the road, and their reliance on cell phones and text messaging has earned them a reputation as some of America’s most dangerous drivers.

Just How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

According to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driving distracted reduces a vehicle operator’s ability to take in the road and respond quickly to developing situations, like traffic. Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (an umbrella which covers texting, dialing, and even reaching for the phone) increases a driver’s likelihood of getting into an accident by as much as three times.

In the study, text messaging and browsing the internet resulted in the longest period during which drivers took their eyes off the road. For those drivers who were text messaging, they, on average, took their eyes away from the road for about 23 seconds total. Even portable hands-free devices that used visual-manual tasks at least half the time (like dialing a number from a vehicle dashboard) increased a driver’s chances of an accident.

Even the act of reaching for the phone or pressing the “end call” button force a driver to pull his or her attention away from the road. During that time, the driver could even lose control of the vehicle or hit another car, pedestrian, or biker. The risk of serious accidents as a result of texting is part of the reason that many states have instituted bans on texting and driving.

What About Adults?

Research from AT&T shows that adults may be more to blame than teenagers when it comes to texting. While nearly all adults (98 percent) admit that they know the behavior is wrong, only half of teenagers indicated that they were aware the behavior was wrong, dangerous, or illegal. Currently, 39 states forbid texting and driving by all drivers, but a handful of other states ban the practice for new drivers alone. This new research shows that texting and driving is dangerous for everyone.

There are about 10 million teen drivers on the road, but there are 180 million adult drivers sharing those same roads. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control show that as many as one-third of those adult drivers have admitted to texting or browsing the web while operating a vehicle.

The Sad Statistics

Every day, nine people are killed and over 1,000 individuals are injured in accidents where distracted driving was a critical component of the incident. While the government doesn’t specifically track crashes that occurred as a result of texting and driving, it’s still considered the most dangerous distraction activity on the road. That’s because texting requires the hands, the mind, and the eyes, leaving little attention on the driving situation.

I am Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law, and I am committed to eliminating this activity that is taking so many lives needlessly. My campaign, Just Put it Down, urges teens and adults to take a pledge and promise to put phones down when behind the wheel. It’s just not worth it. Visit www.JustPutitDown.com with your family members and take a pledge that takes less than 30 seconds, but could save a life.




Senate Targeting FDA Approved Dangerous Drug Zohydro

Senate is concerned about the deadly dangers of Zyhodro painkiller

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin submitted a bill earlier this year calling for the FDA to rescind its approval on Zohydro, a painkiller that is being called the next Oxycontin, only much stronger. The painkiller has become popular with those who tend to abuse drugs and is getting a lot of attention from legislators concerned with prescription pill abuse.

Titled, “The Act to Ban Zohydro,” Sen. Manchin drafted this as a comprehensive argument with 13 reasons why the drug is too dangerous and should be taken off the market. The drug is an extended release formulation of hydrocone, an opiate that’s the primary ingredient in Vicodin and several other well-known painkillers.

What sets Zohydro apart, however, is that it’s ten times stronger than Vicodin. For an individual with a high tolerance for opiates, the two pills could be fatal for an adult. For children, only one pill of Zohydro could lead to death.

The drug is getting a lot of attention as more news is coming out about America’s prescription drug overdose epidemic. Lawmakers are searching for the best approach for addressing this epidemic. According to Manchin, deaths from prescription opioids have quadrupled in the last decade.

In 2010, 16,651 fatalities occurred as a result of prescription opioids. The FDA has already discussed prescription drug abuse as a national epidemic, and regulations are getting tighter on all prescription painkillers. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies are still vigilantly working to fill a need in the market for this type of drug. The push and pull between the industry and the market is part of what has motivated Manchin, among other lawmakers, to call for tighter review and regulation processes.

Manchin believes that the high potency of Zohydro will be deadly for people who are addicted to painkillers already. he believes the drug will be a hot commodity that is likely to be stolen and misused.  According to those involved in creating the bill, the time-release formula in Zohydro could be altered easily by drug abusers to generate a heroin-like effect, thus increasing its potential for misuse around the country.

With such a vibrant black market likely to crop up around this drug, it could be difficult for physicians to determine who really needs the medication. Manchin says that the therapeutic potential for the drug is strongly outweighed by the “public burdens” it might present, arguing that there are already plenty of better options for painkillers available to the patients who need them.

The Centers for Disease Control has announced that a primary goal for 2014 is to reduce the number of deaths from painkiller overdose and abuse. Government officials and legislators aren’t the only ones concerned, however. Those on Zohydro’s own advisory committee recommended against FDA approval of the drug. At the very least, this points to a need for more research.

To date, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg believes that Zohydro offers “unique” benefits to those in need of chronic pain relief, stating that the benefits outweigh the abuse potential.

The movement to overturn Zohydro’s approval is bipartisan and also reaches across several industries, getting support from physicians and addiction specialists all over the Many complaints from the public and legislators have stemmed from the fact that lobbyists spent more than $10,000 in efforts to meet with the FDA to discuss Zohydro.

The approval of this drug is just another reason we must be our own advoKAYtes. Knowledge is powerful. Make sure you always know what you are putting into your body, without assuming it is safe because it was FDA approved.


Traumatic Brain Injury Resources and Support

The Brain Injury Association of America reports that each year an estimated 1.7 million children and adults in America suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), 795,000 people sustain an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from non-traumatic causes. Whether the victim is an adult, child, or infant, TBIs can affect brain function in the following areas: thinking, reasoning, and memory. Lives are dramatically changed as these injuries significantly impact victims and their families.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Brain Injury Association recognizes March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness of TBI. Their website and numerous other brain injury resource websites offer excellent resources for victims and their families.  Here are a few brain injury resource websites that may be helpful if you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury:

This informative website shares what neuroscientists know, explores what they don’t yet know fully, and discusses how today’s research advances understanding. Their goal is “to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury.”

A Physician Talks About Severe Brain Injury: The Basics
This PDF Booklet gives victims, families, caregivers and friends of victims valuable information on how to deal with the effects and outcomes of a serious brain injury. It offers even more resources as well.

Brothers and Sisters: Brain Injury Is a Family Affair (PDF)
This is an article about what to expect from siblings of a TBI victim, and how to deal with the effects of TBI. Common reactions are discussed and parents are given suggestions on how to help their children deal with the effects. Suggestions are offered for what to say, activities to share, books to read, and support groups.

Challenges, Changes, and Choices: A Brain Injury Guide for Families and Caregivers
A free resource booklet that gives you information on the nature and results of brain injury. It gives suggestions for families and caregivers on making decisions, helping family members, and getting support from others. In addition, there is information on contacting recovery professionals, hospitals, and rehab centers with links to other resources.

Brain Injury Guide & Resources
This informative website provides information on coping with TBI and understanding how the brain works.  It also provides treatment options and a list of health care providers who specialize in TBI.

Community and being involved with others in a similar circumstance is extremely important, and this organization provides this quite well. 24 hours a day you will find support and ideas from people who care about TBI. There are also valuable resources for education on TBI prevention, treatment, and coping with TBI.

Traumatic Brain Injury
This website provides information for patients, family members, and caregivers on TBI. Topics include types of brain injuries, different symptoms associated with brain injuries, TBI treatment and recovery, and insights about the potential long-term effects of brain injury. Animation is used to help patients understand the brain and the results of injuries to different parts of the brain. Personal stories of TBI victims and a resource center are also available.

Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports 
Here you’ll find information on concussions, which are increasingly occurring nationwide. The website also provides information for coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. Get great advice on preventing, recognizing, and responding to concussions.

Saving Lives and Protecting People: Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Read all about TBI and get statistics on who is most at risk in the U.S. for TBI.

Traumatic Brain Injuries 
Learn the important signs of a TBI and get tips on how to help children suffering with a TBI.  This website provides information on where to find help (including free evaluations) and links to other resources.


Child Passenger Restraint Laws Decrease Death Rate

Evidence shows that more children are buckled up as a result of child restraint laws. Still, we need to do more. There are still children who are not buckled who are seriously injured or lose their lives in car accidents. This is entirely preventable…

Here’s a video that reveals some statistics on the number of children dying in car accidents. This is one of the leading causes of death among children…

I urge you to make sure that you are always buckled in and that your children are as well.

Distracted driving is also dangerous for you and those around you.  Please take a moment and visit Just Put it Down to pledge to put your cell phone away when you’re driving. This is an epidemic…Don’t become a statistic!

For more information about what to do if you are seriously injured in an automobile accident, grab Kay Van Wey’s free resource, Ultimate Guide for Texas Car Accident Victims.

If you or your child become seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence of another, call Van Wey Law for a free consultation and support during a difficult time. We are here to help.


Graco Voluntarily Recalls 3.8 Million Car Seats


Graco is voluntarily recalling 3.8 million car seats making this the fourth largest car seat recall ever. The problem with the seats is that the harness buckle can get stuck, making it impossible to unlatch in an emergency situation. The specific car seats involved, according to Graco, are the following:

“…harness buckles used on all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made the announcement Tuesday that Graco was recalling 11 out of 18 models of seats that they had been asked to recall. The government agency would like them to recall 1.8 million more because of the buckling issue, but this has not been agreed upon yet by Graco. If they do recall these additional seats, this would be the largest car seat recall in history.

Graco claims this is an issue they have been working on for some time. They believe the problem is caused by food, juices, and other materials getting down into the buckle. This can make the latch stick over time.

They are offering a new and improved replacement harness buckle to customers experiencing the problem. You can obtain it by calling 800-345-4109, or emailing [email protected]. They recommend you continue using the car seat until replaced because the latch issue in no way affects the performance or effectiveness of the seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on the other hand, states that parents and caregivers should consider finding a replacement seat until the Graco car seat is fixed.

There have been no injuries reported that are related to this issue. The toddler convertible car seat recall models include the following (also found on Graco’s website):

  • Cozy Cline
  • Comfort Sport
  • Classic Ride 50
  • My Ride 65
  • My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
  • My Ride 70
  • Size4Me 70
  • My Size 70
  • Head Wise 70
  • Smart Seat 

The seven models that the NHTSA has asked Graco to recall, but that haven’t been recalled thus far are the following infant seats:

  • Snugride
  • Snugride 30
  • Snugride 32
  • Infant Safe Seat-Step 1
  • Snugride 35
  • Tuetonia 35
  • Snugride Click Connect 40

Though these have not been recalled, Graco will provide you with the new and improved buckle regardless.

Check your baby’s seat to make sure the buckle works properly at all times. If your child is injured in a car accident because of a faulty car seat, call Kay Van Wey for a free consultation and advice on compensation you may deserve in such a situation.


A Cultural Shift is Needed to Curb Distracted Driving Epidemic

Lexblog Interview with attorney Kay Van Way

Kay Van Wey urges citizens to pledge against distracted driving

The campaigns and other efforts that attempt to stop distracted driving are helpful. But Kay Van Wey believes, and statistics are showing, these campaigns are simply not enough. She states in her interview with Lexblog that,

“…despite that, there are still over 3,300 deaths each year and over 400,000 injuries from all distracted driving incidents. 1 in 10 are involving pedestrians.”

Kay Van Wey’s Just Put it Down campaign urges citizens to take a pledge against distracted driving. What is really needed, according to Van Wey, is a change in thinking. When driving, we need to place our focus on the road, put the cell phones down, and realize being in touch with others is not as important as being safe on the roads.

Here is the video clip of Van Wey’s excellent points about a major cultural shift that can change lives:

Join Texas attorney Kay Van Wey by taking the Just Put it Down pledge with your friends and family. You too can make a positive impact.



Pedestrian on Bike Struck by Distracted Driver

Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey is passionate about ending the senseless injuries and deaths that are caused by cell phone use while driving. She is asking everyone to visit her website, JustPutitDown.com, and join her in this battle by taking a quick pledge.  Commit to putting your phone away while driving…Every pledge counts, and every life is worth saving from this senselessness.

With all the awareness efforts, shocking statistics and lives lost from distracted drivers using cell phones, it would seem people would begin putting their phones down. Unfortunately, they’re still taking their chances with their own lives and the lives of others.

Corky Rawdon from Farmer’s Branch, Texas is one of the most recent victims of distracted driving.

Corky Rawdon is feeling pretty lucky these days…

He was out on a nice day enjoying a bike ride near his home when, out of nowhere, a white SUV rear-ended him. The driver, who said he was looking at his phone for directions, was given a ticket and sent on his way.

Corky was riding on the right hand side of Valley View Lane, near Oren Good Park when he was rear-ended. He merely remembers being on the ground and trying to move his arms and legs, hoping he wasn’t paralyzed. He was very lucky. His demolished $5,000 racing bike lay nearby on the ground.

Michael Allen Pete, the driver, got out of his 2003 GMC Envoy and repeatedly apologized to Rawdon, admitting that he was, “…looking down and didn’t look up in time. According to James MacPhail, the Farmer’s Branch investigating police officer, Pete was late to a soccer game he had planned on refereeing.

MacPhail wrote in the accident report that Pete was looking down at his cell phone GPS while travelling 35 mph, and looked back up at the road only to notice the driver too late. He struck Rawdon, causing injury.

“Driver of Unit 1 reports that he was traveling at 35 mph and became distracted by his cell phone GPS,” MacPhail wrote in the accident report. “Driver glanced down to view the phone and as he looked back at the road, he saw the cyclist. Unit 1 struck the cyclist causing injury.”

Pete was cited on the scene for failure to produce proof of insurance and sent on his way. Rawdon stated in a recent interview that he had not seen or heard from the driver.

Rawdon was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital by ambulance and suffered a cracked vertebra in his lower back.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, cell phone use was a contributing factor in over 3,000 vehicle crashes in 2012. An estimated 35 “fatality crashes” in that same year were related to cell phone use. Over 1,300 crashes produced injuries. According to experts, the actual numbers are much higher.

In Texas, this is what must happen in order for an officer to list a cell phone as a contributing factor:

  1. The officer must see the driver using the phone, or
  2. The driver must admit to using a cell phone.

Pete did admit using his cell phone when the accident occurred, allowing officers to include it in their report. Knowing how difficult it must be for either of these actions to occur, it’s not hard to imagine how many cases we truly never hear about.

Where Does Texas Stand?

  • 41 states have banned texting while driving, but Texas has not as of yet.
  • In Texas, it is against the law to use a cell phone in school zones or if you are under 18 years of age.
  • 24 cities have passed ordinances banning various forms of cell phone use while driving, mostly texting.
  • El Paso is the only city who has banned cell phone use altogether while driving.
  • Arlington and Grand Prairie have passed ordinances making texting while driving a ticketable offense, but are allowing dash-mounted GPS units.
  • Dallas has not taken any action yet.

City officials on the scene believe the problem is getting worse. (Source: dallasnews.com)

Do Your Part, Take the Pledge

Where do you stand on cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle? Are you willing to put your phone down? Make a commitment by joining Texas distracted driving attorney Kay Van Wey of Van Wey Law in taking the “Just Put it Down” pledge. She is doing her part to decrease the problem, and every pledge makes a difference.

If you become injured or a loved one suffers fatal injuries due to a car accident involving a distracted driver, call Van Wey Law for a free consultation. If you are seriously injured, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering.

Cyclist Suffers Broken BackFor more information on protecting yourself or a loved one who has been involved in a car accident, grab Kay’s free ebook resource, Ultimate Guide for Texas Car Accident Victims.  When you’ve been seriously injured due to another’s negligence, it’s important to have an experienced accident attorney on your side.

Important Tips for How to Protect Yourself after a Texas Car Accident


Think Twice Before Buying a Minicar

You might want to think twice before investing in a small car to save on fuel bills, unless you are willing to risk your safety, studies show.

Cars Not Making the Grade

The Institute for Highway Safety examined 11 new minicars. Out of these 11, ten failed the trade group’s challenging new Overlap Front Test. This simulates the type of crash that happens in the real world of driving. The only small car that that just barely passed was the Chevrolet Spark. A spokesperson for IIHS believes that…

“These tiny vehicles are the worst performing group of any evaluated so far.”

This means that the Chevy Spark is the only minicar that has earned the 2014 Top Safety Pick award. This specific new crash test demonstrates what would happen if the front corner of your vehicle collided with another car or object. Vehicles that are small and lightweight are definitely at a safety disadvantage. The minicar group is just not performing as well as the other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash test.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

However, even the category of cars one size up from these only passed 5 out of 17 models successfully. A number of larger vehicles have had difficulty passing the crash test launched in 2012. The midsize Toyota Camry has had the Top Safety Pick and its ratings revoked in recent months. Manufacturers are racing to meet the standards of additional bracing to the front of these vehicles.

Not quite so easy, though, to add additional weight to the smallest of cars…This makes them less cost effective and can throw performance off.

Even Chevy Spark Deemed Unsafe

Even with the Chevy Spark’s “acceptable” rating, the IIHS noted it still does not protect as well as a larger and heavier vehicles with a comparable rating. None of these minicars offer front crash prevention to warn the driver of a potential crash.

Life is not worth saving on fuel, though times are tough economically for many. A few more years of development are likely needed before a driver can feel safe in a minicar. With distracted driving such a prevalent problem, this combination is a death risk.

Before you decide to buy a small, fuel saving car, do your research on the safety of it. The research may be well worth your time and your life.