Are you struggling with a prescription opioid addiction? Many of the victims of the prescription opioid epidemic did not choose to abuse these meds, become addicted to them, or overdose from them, yet far too often, that is exactly what’s happened. But it may not be your fault. In fact, if you are struggling with prescription opioid abuse, addiction, or overdose, you may be entitled to seek justice and compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered.
Are You Entitled to Justice and Compensation?
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You may be eligible to seek justice for your prescription opioid addiction if the following are true:
- You have no history of addiction, though
- You experienced an injury or event for which you received one or more opioid prescriptions, and
- You then suffered a major setback such as losing your job, home, or getting expelled from school, and
- You had to receive inpatient treatment or rehabilitation to get control of your life.
If your family member died from their prescription opioid addiction, you might be entitled to seek justice for their loss of life if:
- Your loved one did not have a history of addiction,
- But they received one or more prescriptions because of an injury or event, and
- They became addicted, and their life went out of control, and
- They died from their addiction to prescription opioids, and
- Their toxicology report confirms their death was from prescription opioids.
For decades we have successfully fought for the rights of those patients who have suffered injury from prescription drugs and the physicians that overprescribe them to their patients, and we will fight for you. If you, your spouse or your child is struggling to overcome a prescription opioid addiction or if you lost a family member to a prescription opioid overdose, we can help. Contact us now to learn more about seeking justice and compensation.
What Caused the Opioid Addiction Epidemic?
In the 1990s, opioid drug manufacturers started a big push to get physicians to prescribe opioid medications for pain relief by promoting misleading information about the efficacy and safety of the drugs. The combination of these efforts and others designed to get these drugs into as many hands as possible has worked, and the U.S. now consumes more of these medications than any other country on the globe.
The epidemic has become so intense that more people died in one year from overdose than the number of people who died in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars combined. Statistically, someone died about every eight minutes from an overdose, and over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments every day for opioid abuse. Overdose deaths are about 5-times higher today than they were a decade ago.
Opioid manufacturers, drug distributors, and suppliers, physicians and pharmacists all hold some of the responsibility for the opioid epidemic. Research shows that when doctors overprescribe opioids, their patients are about 30 percent more likely to become long-term users. And even though most physicians are very strict about what they approve, some have contributed to the problem by prescribing massive amounts of opioid pills to small groups of patients. As a ripped from the headlines example: A doctor in Pennsylvania prescribed a group of about 3,000 patients some 2.7 million units of opioids in just 12 months.
What States Have Been Especially Hard Hit by The Epidemic
Suppliers and distributors have been moving obscene amounts of opioid drugs to areas around the country. Some of the most affected states by opioid use, addiction and overdose are:
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
In some of these states, the opioid prescriptions outnumber residents; sometimes the discrepancy is almost unbelievable. Kermit, West Virginia has a population of only about 400. However, the pharmacy in town shipped in over 9 million units of opioids in two years. The cost of the flood of opioids has been incredibly high. So many people have died that funeral homes are beyond maximum capacity, and the state’s budget is maxed.
There are checks and balances that are supposed to prevent this type of drug flood and stop the flow of drugs to the street. But these drug diversion measures did not work, and the people are paying the price for the profits reaped through the manufacture and distribution of these highly addictive medications.
Opioid medications commonly prescribed and abused in the United States:
- Troxyca ER
- Tylenol 3
- Xartemis XR
- Xtampza ER
The Face of Prescription Opioid Addiction
Even though research has shown that nearly every group has experienced an uptick in opioid abuse, the group that has suffered the most overdose deaths may surprise you. Overdose deaths in people aged 55 to 64 soared in only five years from about four deaths per 100,000 people to almost 22 deaths per 100,000 people.
Children and teens are one of the groups most vulnerable to opioid addiction and statistics show that every single day in our country five young people die from prescription opioids overdoses, and almost 120 more are rushed to emergency rooms for treatment. Yet, only about 25 percent of the young people who are struggling with these drugs will get the treatment they need to be able to recover successfully from addiction. To make matters worse, young people aren’t taking these drugs from their parent’s medicine drawers – most get them through prescriptions from their physicians.
How bad is the problem? In one year alone (2016):
- 5 million people misused their opioid prescription
- 1 million people suffered addiction or opioid use disorder
- 42,249 died from drug overdoses
States Are Seeking Compensation
Because of the seriousness the epidemic and its associated costs, cities and states across the country are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of opioid medications and their distribution chains. These lawsuits make serious allegations including that the drug manufacturers overemphasized the benefits of the drugs while at the same time understating the risks, such as the risk of addiction. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits say the drug makers encouraged and incentivized physicians to prescribe their products while knowing they were highly addictive and engaging in marketing practices that led patients to believe the drugs were safe and effective for pain relief.
Plaintiffs are accusing drug makers and suppliers of moving enormous amounts of pills that they knew or should have known would end up being diverted and of doing so despite federal requirements for distributors to monitor all orders and to notify the authorities when large or suspicious drug orders are shipped.
At least 250 cities, states, and jurisdictions have filed lawsuits against drug makers seeking damages for the costs of the epidemic they say the drug makers helped cause, including for:
- drug treatment programs;
- Narcan™ (naloxone)
- emergency medical transportation;
- medical care;
- law enforcement response;
- law enforcement investigations;
- incarcerations, and
- property damage repair costs.
These states are accusing drug makers like Purdue Pharma, of deceiving the medical community about opioid pain relievers to increases sales and profits. The plaintiffs allege that these companies misinformed the healthcare community about opioids and addiction even claiming that doctors should give their patients more opioids if the patients start to show the symptoms of addiction.
While the federal government and individual states try to get a handle on the epidemic by making it more difficult to get opioid pain medications, patients are searching for other avenues to get relief from their pain, typically in the form of illegal street drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 80 percent of the people who use heroin started with prescription medications.
Prescription Opioid Personal Injury Lawsuits
We are filing lawsuits across the country on behalf of patients and their loved ones who have suffered the horrible costs of addiction including potentially fatal overdose and the complex challenges of addiction. These victims and their families are seeking justice and compensation for the injuries and losses they have sustained because of prescription opioid abuse, addiction, overdose, and death.
If your life or the life of your loved one has spiraled out of control because of prescription opioid addiction, contact us today to learn more about your rights, the laws that protect you, and whether you are entitled to seek justice and compensation. We have fought for the rights of patients harmed by prescription medications and dangerous drugs for decades, and we will fight for you and your family.
We know that many patients had no idea how addictive opioid medications were when they first received their prescriptions and we know that as your tolerance builds to these drugs, your pain remains. It’s this search for relief that leads many to abuse opioids. Sadly, research has shown that these drugs may be no better at controlling pain than other, non-addictive pain relief 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 your addiction and getting your life back.