The Opioid Crisis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that in 2015 more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses, which includes prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, and that nearly half of that number involved a prescription overdose.

The names of these prescription opioids are familiar to many of us: Methadone, Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).

In addition to overdoses resulting in death, the widespread use of prescription opioids also results in other staggering statistics:

  • In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids;
  • Nearly 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term struggle with addiction; and,
  • Every day over 1,000 people are treated in emergency room departments for misusing prescription opioids.

Due to the daily increase in costs related to prescription opioid use, from death to the emotional harm suffered by countless families, and to the strain on our public programs, lawsuits have begun to arise against the manufacturers and wholesale distributors of these drugs. Cases are now being filed by private individuals and by governmental entities (cities, towns, counties and state governments), seeking compensation for families and reimbursement to the taxpayers for the financial burden this opioid crisis imposes. And while the people and entities who are pursuing legal action differ, the theme or allegation in each case is quite common: The companies that manufacture and distribute these prescription opioids exaggerated the benefits of the drugs and knew the medicine was being overly prescribed. With this knowledge, the defendants failed to warn treating physicians of the highly addictive nature of their products and the need to strictly limit dosages and quantities of prescriptions.

And in America, the stereotypical picture of a homeless person seeking help from others is not an accurate depiction of our present opioid crisis. The addiction does not discriminate and crosses all ages, education, race, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds. Families everywhere and of every kind are increasingly struggling to find answers for their parents, sons and daughters to help alleviate their suffering.

Presently the lawyers at HBMH law are representing an individual who served in Afghanistan and was injured when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an IED. He was prescribed both oxycodone and oxycontin by his primary care physician for his pain. Over time these prescription dosages increased as did the client’s dependency. The impact of the prescription medications on his life has been devastating. He is divorced, his familial relationships have been damaged, he began to use illegal drugs, he suffered work issues and now he suffers from depression and anxiety. It is the goal of HBMH law to help our client piece his life back together and to hold his doctor accountable.

If you or any member of your family has had difficulty with opioid addiction, the lawyers at HBMH law are well positioned and qualified to discuss your legal options.

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