A Closer Look at the Opioid Crisis
More and more people are talking about the opioid crisis sweeping our nation, but what is the real problem and how could it affect you? While some opioids are illegal, many are prescribed by doctors on a daily basis as a treatment for pain. So, if they are prescribed by doctors, they can’t really be dangerous, can they? Unfortunately, opioids can be extremely dangerous despite being heavily relied on as a legal medical treatment. While these medications do have their uses, they can also lead to serious addictions and can have potentially fatal consequences.
Opioids are strong pain-relieving medications which can either be prescribed or illegally manufactured. The most common illegal opioid is heroin, which is extremely addictive and dangerous. Although heroin may seem like the most dangerous opioid because it is illegal, the prescribed opioids can be just as dangerous, if not more so. One of the more prominent problems is the abuse of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. In many instances abusing prescription medications has led people to seek more effective drugs, like heroin. In fact, the National Institute of Drug Abuse claims that 80% of all people who misuse heroin first misused prescription opioids.
The problem is quite simple, opioids are prescribed too freely and too often. Because opioids have the potential to become addictive, it falls to doctors and other medical professionals to monitor patients for susceptibility to addiction. If a doctor fails to notice clear signs of addiction, such as mood swings, shaking, sweating, and other changes in behavior, and continues to prescribe opioids, that doctor could be held liable for the resulting damage.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, between 21% and 29% of all patients who are prescribed opioids for pain misuse them, and 8-12% develop an addiction. Doctors are key in stopping the opioid epidemic, and by prescribing medications to patients who are unfit to fight addiction they could put their health at risk.
One of the biggest problems with opioids began back in the 90’s when manufacturers began telling doctors and consumers that opioids were not addictive. This led to a spike in prescriptions and, correspondingly, a spike in sales. While this move proved beneficial for the drug manufacturers, it became disastrous for thousands of patients using opioids.
If you were prescribed opioids be a negligent doctor, or you used opioids sold under false marketing techniques, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Likewise, if someone you love overdosed on opioids through some sort of negligence either by the doctor or drug manufacturer, our firm may be able to help your family seek compensation for your loss.
Contact Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. to discuss your medical malpractice case with our attorneys.