Life as an Extreme Sport


So the autopsy results are back for Heath Ledger, and unsurprisingly, show he died of an accidental overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone (vicodin), diazepam (Valium), temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine (active ingredient in NyQuil). The Reuters article goes on to say that Ledger was likely either buying from a street corner or doctor shopping, because “medical experts said it was highly unlikely a single doctor would have prescribed such a mix.” (Their medical expert was Andrew Kolodny, a psychiatrist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.)

Oh really? I don’t doctor shop, in fact specifically because I’m very concerned about potential drug interactions with the variety of medications I take for the chronic pain, asthma, and occasional other issues. And I’ve been on oxycodone, Vicodin, Valium, and doxylamine at the same time, and with another sedative and a sleep aid thrown in for good measure (plus assorted other asthma medications).

And it’s a prescription combination kept up by several doctors over the course of several states (moves). So, obviously it’s not that unusual. But as I noted immediately after hearing of Ledger’s death, there is a quiet and continually running fear about my medications and when and how to take them for this very reason.