Doctors, Drug Companies Held Accountable for Opioid Addictions
Up until recently, opioid medications were routinely prescribed to patients who suffered pain as the result of injuries and chronic health conditions. The problem is that these drugs are highly addictive. Users can become hooked quickly and may look to street drugs such as heroin when their supply runs out.
Those in the legal community are fighting back against increasing rates of opioid addiction and overdose by using pharmaceutical litigation against the doctors who write prescriptions for these medications, the pharmacies that fill them, and the drug companies that distribute them. By holding the ones who make the most money of off the misery of opioid addicts and their families accountable, there is hope that this tactic can put a dent in what is now classified as the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.
The Opioid Epidemic In South Carolina
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that opioid medications are used to treat a variety of conditions. Basic opioids include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Percocet, a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone
A stronger opioid is Fentanyl, commonly used in patch form to treat cancer victims. When prescription opioids run out or the user requires more to replicate the feeling, they may end up seeking heroin as a replacement. In addition to being habit forming, opioids have dangerous drug interactions and a high risk of overdose. The CDC estimates that between 26 to 36 million people use opioids in some form, and roughly 95 people die every day as the result of opioid overdose.
In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reports close to 600 people had prescription opioid medication overdoses listed as the cause of death in 2015, which is up 12 percent from the estimated 459 cases reported in 2014. Meanwhile, heroin overdoses in our area have increased by over 50 percent. Naloxone is a drug that helps to counter the effects of opioids and can be used in emergencies to prevent an overdose. DHEC reports that it was used more than 6,000 times in South Carolina during 2016.
Overdose & Opioid Addiction Lawsuits
According to a July 2017 report by the Washington Post, rising death rates due to overdoses and increasing public safety costs in terms of paramedics and law enforcement has led to an outcry against drug manufacturers and distributors by the community and by state and federal officials. The legal community is doing their part by filing individual and class action lawsuits on behalf of family members seeking damages for the suffering caused. Civil litigation and personal injury attorneys in at least 25 states have begun taking legal action against those who have made opioids a $13 billion a year industry.
Our Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorneys Are Here To Help
At Anastopoulo Law Firm our attorneys are here to help victims and their family members hold doctors, drug manufacturers, and distributors accountable for the damages they have caused. If you or a loved one has been impacted by opioid addiction or an overdose, call or contact our office today and request a free consultation. We act as a trusted legal advocate, to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.