Are You or a Loved One Addicted to Prescription Opioids? It May Not Be Your Fault
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Adults and children across the country are suffering from prescription opioid addiction, abuse and overdose. For many of these people, their addiction may not be their fault. In fact, some may be eligible to seek compensation for their suffering and losses.
Are You Eligible for Compensation?
If you or your child:
- have no history of addiction, but
- experienced an event or injury that led to receiving one or more opioid prescriptions, and
- then suffered a major life setback, such as losing a job or dropping out of school, and
- had to enter a rehabilitation or in-patient treatment center to get their life back, you may be entitled to compensation.
Families who have lost loved one to prescription opioid addiction may also be entitled to seek compensation, if their loved one:
- had no prior history of addiction, until
- some event or injury led to them receiving prescription opioids, and
- their life spun out of control because they became addicted to prescription opioids, and
- their cause of death was from prescription opioids, and
- toxicology reports confirm prescription opioids as the cause of death.
We Are Here to Help
We have spent decades successfully fighting for the rights of patients harmed by prescription drugs and the doctors that over-prescribe them, and we stand ready to fight for you and your family. If your life, or the life of your child has been turned upside-down because of prescription opioids, or if you lost a loved one to an overdose of a prescription opioid, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about whether you are eligible to seek compensation.
How Did the Epidemic Start?
The epidemic started in the 1990s once pharmaceutical companies began pushing physicians to prescribe opioids for pain relief through the use of misleading information about the safety and effectiveness of the drugs. Since then, the U.S. has gone on to consume more opioid medications than any other country on earth.
In 2016, more than 64,000 people died of overdose in the U.S. alone, which is more than died in the Iraq and Vietnam wars combined. In fact, someone dies of overdose about every eight minutes and more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for prescription opioid abuse every day. More than 200,000 people died of prescription opioid overdoses in the five years prior to 2016, and deaths are at least five times higher today than they were ten years ago.
Drug makers, distributors, suppliers, and doctors may all hold some of the responsibility of the epidemic. While some physicians are very strict about prescribing opioids, research has shown that patients of physicians who overprescribe these drugs are almost 30 percent more likely to become long-term opioid users. And some physicians made the problem worse by prescribing millions of pills to small patient groups. For instance, 3,000 patients were prescribed 2.7 million opioid units in one year by a Pennsylvania doctor. That state continues to experience high overdose and death rates.
But you can’t place all the blame on physicians. Opioid makers and distributors have bombarded areas of the country with an unbelievable amount of prescription opioids. Some states, like those listed here have been especially hard hit:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
In states like these, the CDC found up to 96 to 143 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. But that’s not the worst of it. Case in point: A pharmacy in a small West Virginia town named Kermit shipped in more than 9 million opioid pills over two years. But the population of Kermit is less than 400 people. The inundation of pills has come with an extremely high price tag. There’s been so many deaths from overdose that the state’s budget and funeral homes are maxed.
Drug companies, pharmacies, and distributors have all cashed in on the epidemic, and the checks and balances that are in place to prevent drug diversion have all but been ignored. Instead, so many opioid scripts are being issued and filled that the drugs are finding their way into the hands of dealers, compounding an already deadly problem.
Commonly Prescribed Opioids
Some of the most commonly prescribed opioids include:
What Prescription Opioid Addiction Looks Like
The ages of those who are most likely to abuse and overdose from their opioid prescriptions might surprise you. Research shows that while opioid abuse has increased across nearly all age groups, the greatest jump in overdose deaths is in the 55 to 64 age group. In fact, overdose deaths in that age group jumped in five years from 4.2 deaths per 100,000 persons to 21.8 deaths.
Prescription drug abuse by young adults and children is just as horrific. Young people are extremely vulnerable to opioid addiction, and unfortunately, prescription opioids have become some of the most commonly abused drugs to be abused by high school students along with marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. But the majority of these kids aren’t taking their parent’s prescriptions. Most received prescriptions pills from their doctors.
More than five teens and young adults died every day from prescription opioids, and for every child that died, 119 more children were taken to emergency rooms for help, and 22 more were admitted. Yet, even though these victims sought help, only about a quarter will receive the treatment they need to successfully recover from their addiction.
States Are Seeking Compensation
A number of states, cities, and counties are filing lawsuits against opioid companies and their supply chains. Some of these suits allege that opioid makers overplayed the benefits of opioid drugs while underplaying the risks, such as the high propensity to become addicted to the drugs. The plaintiffs accuse these manufacturers of encouraging physicians to prescribe the drugs, even though they knew the drugs were highly addictive, while engaging in marketing that lead patients to believe the drugs were safe and effective.
Other lawsuits are accusing opioid distributors of supplying massive quantities of pills that they knew or should have known would end up being diverted, even though federal laws require distributors to monitor their shipments, and to notify law enforcement officials when large or suspicious opioid orders are shipped to a region.
All in all, more than 250 lawsuits have been filed. States are seeking compensation for damages including for the costs of:
- drug treatment programs;
- Narcan™ (naloxone)
- emergency medical transportation;
- medical care;
- law enforcement response;
- law enforcement investigations;
- incarcerations, and
- property damage repair costs.
Some states, like Alabama are targeting drug makers like Purdue Pharma, accusing them of deceiving physicians about opioid pain medication in order to increase sales and profits. They allege that big pharma misinformed the medical community about addiction, even going so far as to claim that when patients displayed the symptoms of addiction, it meant they needed more opioids.
Over the past few years, federal regulations have made it more difficult to get opioid pain reliever prescriptions, which caused patients to search out other means obtaining pain relief, namely in the form of illicit drugs. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly 80 percent of people who currently use heroin started with prescription drugs.
Prescription Opioid Personal Injury Lawsuits
Lawsuits are being filed across the United States on behalf of patients and their families who have suffered the tremendous cost of opioid addiction including life-threatening addiction and overdose. These patients and families who lost loved ones are filing lawsuits to seek compensation for the injuries and losses they’ve suffered because of prescription opioid addiction, abuse, overdose, and death. If your life has spiraled out of control because of prescription opioid addiction, it may not be your fault. Contact us today to learn more about rights and if you are entitled to seek compensation.
For decades, we have fought for the rights of patients harmed by the medications they are prescribed, and we stand ready to fight for you now. We know that many people were prescribed opioids without knowing how addictive they are. And we know that pain doesn’t necessarily go away as your tolerance to these medications build. This is what leads many to abuse opioids, they want their pain alleviated. Unfortunately, no research has proven that these medications are any better at controlling pain than other non-addictive medications.
If you are struggling with prescription opioid addiction, contact us today. We can help ensure your rights are protected while you focus on beating the addiction and getting your life back.