Over the past 2 decades, the number of prescription opioid drugs sold in U.S. has nearly quadrupled. During this same period, death rates from opioids have risen to the point where there are currently more than 42,000 people dying from opioid overdose each year in the U.S.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered an overdose from a prescription opioid drug, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: Opioid Epidemic has “Peaked”, Says Ex-Cleveland Clinic CEO
August 14, 2018 – The opioid epidemic in the U.S., which currently kills more people than breast cancer, has “peaked,” according to Dr. Toby Cosgrove, former CEO of the Cleveland Clinic and one of the nation’s leading voices on healthcare reform.
“We’re starting to see the understanding of the problem,” Cosgrove said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “[We] are getting to the point where people are certainty prescribing fewer drugs and people are recognizing how serious this is.”
The abuse of and addiction to prescription opioid pain relievers is currently a serious global problem, according to the U.S. National Institutes of health (NIH). The institutes estimate that between 26 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the U.S. suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012, and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.
Which Drugs are Opioids?
Some types of opioid medicines include:
- Codeine (generic form only)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
- Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
- Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
- Oxycodone and naloxone
How Do They Work?
Opioid medications work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. This reduces the sending of pain messages to the brain, thereby alleviating feelings of pain in the person. Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain, and interact poorly with many other prescription medications.
Are Opioids Overprescribed?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioid pain medications nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, but there has been no overall change in the amount of pain reported. During this same time period, deaths from prescription opioid painkillers have also increased similarly, CDC said.
Who’s Most Likely to Become Addicted?
The CDC also found that prescription opioid abuse varies according to age, gender and ethnicity:
Older adults (aged 40 years and older) are more likely to use prescription opioids than adults aged 20 – 39.
Women are more likely to use prescription opioids than men.
Non-Hispanic whites are more likely to use prescription opioids than Hispanics.
There are no significant differences in prescription opioid use between non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks.
Opioid Addiction Symptoms
Physical signs that a person may be abusing opioid medications include:
- Noticeable elation/euphoria
- Marked sedation/drowsiness
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed breathing
- Intermittent loss of consciousness
Other signs of possible opiate addiction may include “doctor shopping” (getting multiple prescriptions of the same drug from different doctors), shifting moods dramatically, extra pill bottles laying around the house / in the trash, social withdrawal / isolation, and sudden financial problems.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to sleep
In general, opioid lawsuits allege that doctors, pharmaceutical companies and “pill mills” exploited patients, got them addicted to prescription pills, and cost individuals and state governments millions of tax dollars. Furthermore, the complaints allege negligence, state code violations, and unjust enrichment on the part of the defendants.
Has a Class Action Been Filed?
Yes. Numerous individual and class action lawsuits have been filed against pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers by plaintiffs who claim they were not adequately warned about the risk of overdose, death, and other serious injuries. Industry experts believe that many more similar claims will join the litigation in the coming weeks and months.
Can I File an Opioid Lawsuit?
Only a qualified attorney can determine whether you are eligible to file an opioid lawsuit, which is why we are currently offering free case evaluations. Simply fill out the confidential evaluation form below to contact our law firm now.
Most cases involving pharmaceuticals allege that a drug was sold with design, manufacturing, and/or marketing defects, which typically refers to a company’s failure to warn of a certain side effect. In the case of opioids, our attorneys suspect that patients may be able to take legal action in light of claims that manufacturers failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about the risk of addiction, overdose, and death.
How Can Filing a Lawsuit Help Me?
By filing a lawsuit against the maker of an opioid drug, you may be entitled to collect compensation for all current and future medical expenses related to the treatment of your injury, as well as for damages for pain and suffering. Additionally, filing a lawsuit can help hold the drug’s manufacturer accountable for releasing an allegedly defective drug into the marketplace, and to discourage other pharmaceutical companies from engaging in similar conduct.
Have There Been Settlements?
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced in January 2018 that settlement negotiations had begun for over 250 federal lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies and distributors over the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to ABC News. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has been tapped to oversee what many hope will be a global settlement with the pharmaceutical industry that would also encompass lawsuits filed in state courts.
Minneapolis Sues Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors for Contributing to “Epidemic”
July 4, 2018 – Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal has filed a lawsuit against 17 pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for allegedly contributing to the nationwide “opioid epidemic” that now kills more people each year in the U.S. than breast cancer. The crux of the plaintiffs’ argument is that defendants’ actions in regards to marketing opioids was reckless and has resulted in a critical public health situation.
Kentucky Attorney General Files Opioid Lawsuit Against Walgreens
June 20, 2018 – Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general, has filed a sixth lawsuit against The Walgreens Company for deceptive marketing practices involving opioid painkillers. Beshear announced the lawsuit on June 12 in Boone Circuit Court, saying that Walgreens excessively distributed opioids in Kentucky and failed to report suspiciously large orders it received for the drugs.
Walmart to Restrict Opioid Prescriptions
May 8, 2018 – Walmart & Sam’s Club announced on Monday they will limit initial opioid prescriptions to no more than a 7-day supply in an effort to curb a nationwide epidemic which now kills more people than breast cancer. Walmart also said that beginning Jan. 1, 2020, it would require e-prescriptions for all controlled substances, noting that electronic prescriptions tend to be harder to forge than their paper counterparts.
Do I Have an OpioId Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in opioid lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new overdose and addiction cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one suffered an overdose from a prescription opioid drug, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.