The opioid epidemic has hurt many people in the U.S. Opioid drugs are highly addictive and many people developed an addiction that lasted past their prescriptions. People may have turned to other forms of drugs to deal with the addiction, where they run the risk of overdosing. Opioids are strong painkillers, which is why so many were prescribed.
Dangerous drugs have been putting the lives of U.S. citizens at risk for years. When people are prescribed opioids, they may not fully understand the risks or they may already have pre-existing conditions that have adverse reactions to the drugs. This can make people extremely sick and develop more health issues. Consider the following opioid statistics:
- About 21-29 percent of patients misuse the opioids.
- 19,000 Americans died from overdosing on opioids in 2015.
- The opioid death rate is higher than motor vehicle accident fatalities.
Pharmaceutical Companies and the Opioid Epidemic
One possibly liable party for the opioid epidemic are the pharmaceutical companies that have been pushing their drugs into the market, even when they knew how dangerous their drugs were.
A main marketing point of opioids from pharmaceutical companies was that certain kinds of opioids weren’t as addictive as others. This made people think they would be safer to take and they wouldn’t develop an addiction. But this wasn’t the case.
One pharmaceutical company that’s recently come under scrutiny is Purdue Pharma. They developed a drug called OxyContin, supposedly an opioid that wouldn’t make people addicted. They have claimed that they didn’t know the drug had a high abuse potential, but there are reports that say they’ve known about OxyContin’s addictiveness since the late 90s. Drug abusers sought out to get the drugs through a prescription, but some also turned to robbing pharmacies.
Distributors Sending Large Shipments of Opioids
Opioid distributors are responsible for packaging and shipping drugs to hospitals and pharmacies. There are regulations in place that say they are supposed to stop large shipments and look into why the order is suspiciously big. They’re also supposed to report this to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But they didn’t always do that, resulting in many small town pharmacies being flooded with available opioids.
With easy access to painkillers in high demand, there may have also been instances of doctors writing prescriptions for opioids for money. This allowed people to feed their addiction and severely damage their health and wellbeing.
Doctors Prescribing Opioids
Another liable party could be the doctors that prescribe the medication. Some doctors are often caught between giving their patients a dangerous drug that will take away their pain but puts them at risk of addiction, to giving them something less potent but the patient still has to deal with their pain.
There could also be situations where the doctor writes a prescription for a large amount of pills instead of prescribing a small amount and carefully monitoring how it affects their patient.
When Can I Sue a Hospital?