Opioid abuse is a major health epidemic facing the nation today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the number of opioid pills that were legally purchased by pharmacies and physicians nearly quadrupled between 1999 to 2010, even when an increase in pain reported by our nation was not noted. Call a Lafayette Defective Drugs Lawyer today to schedule your free consultation.
Furthermore, as per the CDC an estimated 91 Americans die daily of opioid overdoses. Prescription opioid overdoses accounted for almost half of the deaths in opioid overdoses that occurred during 2015, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Across the nation, counties and individual states have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers due to their marketing practices. Additionally, families who have lost loved ones due to opioid overdoses are seeking damages through lawsuits.
An opioids lawyer may have the ability to assist you if you or a family member has been negatively impacted by the use of opioids. Work with a compassionate and capable attorney that could advocate for you.
The Problem With Opioids
Under the United States Controlled Substances Act (8 U.S.C. §812), opioids are classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Opioids are often prescribed for severe pain as they impede nerves in the brain that cause pain.
The opioid molecules adhere to receptor sites in the brain and work by blocking pain signals so that the patient does not feel pain as severely as they would without the drug. In addition, these drugs often cause euphoric feelings, which can lead to recreational use and addiction in some patients. Sadly, the CDC reveals that as many as one quarter of all patients who are legally taking opioids develop an addiction to them.
A particularly dangerous side effect of opioids is that they decrease breathing rates and can dysregulate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the brain stem. Taking too many opioid drugs can cause respiratory depression, which can lead to death. Other medications can also interact with opioids to make these side effects more severe.
Commonly Used Prescription Opioids
Among the most commonly prescribed opioids related to lawsuits include the following:
- Oxycodone: This form of opioid can treat short- and long-acting pain. Oxycodone can be combined with acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or aspirin.
- Hydrocodone: This drug can also be combined with acetaminophen or aspirin and may be used to treat short-term pain.
- Morphine: This is one of the most potent opioids and is often prescribed to persons with chronic pain.
- Codeine: This medication is usually taken by mouth and used to treat short-term pain.
- Hydromorphone: Hydromorphone is a fast-acting drug that can also be utilized as a morphine substitute.
- Methadone: This drug can be used to help individuals struggling with an addiction to opioids through a tapering method. Persons experiencing chronic pain can also use this for pain management.
- Fentanyl: This extremely powerful drug is a synthetic opioid usually used to address breakthrough pain. When a person does not have their pain adequately controlled by a weaker opioid, fentanyl may be used as a last resort.
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Circumstances for an Opioid Lawsuit
As any experienced opioids lawyer knows, the most common circumstances for plaintiffs in opioid lawsuits include the following:
- Patients taking medications such as hydrocodone that cause the highest rate of overdoses
- Patients given a prescription for high doses of opioid medications
- Patients taking fentanyl
- Patients who are or were on long-term opioid therapy
- Patients who take opioids in conjunction with benzodiazepines, as both impact the function of a patient’s central nervous system
- Patients given prescriptions for opioid medications for off-label (non-FDA-approved) purposes
- Patients who use their prescribed opioids with other illegal opioids or heroin
I thank God for Digger & David. I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t have been for them.Rick Smith | Client
What Are Liable Parties Held Accountable for?
The devastating stories of loved ones who have lost family members due to opioid abuse are numerous. And unfortunately, concealed within these reports are the unlawful or unethical actions of healthcare providers, pharmacists, and drugmakers and distributors.
During opioid litigation, defendants may be held accountable for the following:
- Overprescribing opioids, such as prescribing the wrong dosage or writing an unwarranted opioid prescription
- Prescribing the wrong type of opioid
- Prescribing an opioid to a person that is at higher risk of addiction or overdose
- Prescribing opioids without considering other drugs the person takes
- Failing to provide proper safety and addiction warnings
- Engaging in fraudulent or misleading marketing practices about opioids
Understanding Drug Manufacturers’ Role in the Opioid Epidemic
For decades, pharmaceutical companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and others, contended that opioids were a safe and non-addictive treatment for various chronic pain syndromes. But, through a misleading marketing strategy, these pharmaceutical companies concealed that OxyContin and other opioids are highly habit-forming and build a tolerance over time, making them ineffective for chronic pain. You can speak with a Lafayette personal injury lawyer to help you pursue compensation.
According to an investigation conducted by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the industry collectively paid out millions to third-party advocacy groups to market opioid products.
By incentivizing doctors to sell opioid medications to patients, these companies profited off the inherently addictive characteristics of opioids. Additionally, there’s evidence that they intentionally tried to mislead doctors.
Due to the inherent dangers of using opioids, including dependence, tolerance, addiction, and overdose, many cities, states, municipalities, and individuals have filed lawsuits against drugmakers, and settlements have reached millions of dollars.
It’s Time to Fight Back
As the death toll increases, state governments across the United States have begun investigating and initiating legal actions against opioid manufacturers. Many of these measures have been widely successful in court, opening the door for claims by persons who have suffered painful and tragic consequences due to opioid use.
Thousands of cases have been filed, and the legal environment has never been more receptive. As the actual scope of the epidemic has slowly been revealed, our country has finally started to understand the damage and trauma inflicted on populations at every level of society. Our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers have been affected, and it’s time to right this incredible wrong.
The reassurance from Digger and his staff gave me that renewed hope that it’s going to be okay down the road.Client
How an Opioids Attorney Can Help
Patients who were prescribed prescription opioids have suffered addictions, serious side effects, and even death. If you were negatively impacted by using these drugs a seasoned opioids lawyer can help you determine if you have valid grounds for civil relief.
A compassionate legal team understands the heartache and shame that these types of drugs can cause and make it their goal to seek compensation for all the damages you have suffered. Get in touch today with Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers to learn more about the opioid legal services available to you.