Our country has an opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, as a doctor at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, “It is one of the few public health problems that is getting worse instead of better.” More and more individuals and families are dealing with the devastation caused by addiction and overdoses.
What is causing the problem? Are manufacturers pushing dangerous drugs using misleading information? Are hospitals more concerned with docile, low-maintenance patients than they are with potential addiction? Are doctors using all the resources available to them or are they careless or under-trained in writing pain-related prescriptions?
We’re investigating. If you or a loved one have been harmed by over-prescriptions for drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin, or Dilaudid, we’d like to hear from you. (See a longer list of drugs below.)
Since 1999, the number of deaths from drug overdoses has quadrupled. Between 2000 and 2015, more than half a million people have died from them. Many of these deaths involved not illicit drugs but prescription opioids. The CDC says, “The amount of prescription opioids sold … nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, yet there had not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans reported.”
Organizations like the CDC, National Institutes for Health, Food and Drug Administration, and many others are all exploring what they can do to safeguard patients and make manufacturers, hospitals, and doctors take better care in prescribing these powerful medications. Better guidelines for prescribing opioids is one measure. Research into new drugs for pain is important, as are drugs that help people deal with addiction.
Some believe that the epidemic began when drug manufacturers began irresponsibly pushing the use of opioids using misleading information that minimized the risks of addiction and overdose. The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit this summer that accuses five drug makers of abetting the opioid epidemic through deceptive marketing campaigns aimed at doctors and patients. The state of West Virginia has already sued distributors and reached settlements that will help pay for the high costs of dealing with drug problems. Also, the city of Chicago and individual counties in California, New York, and West Virginia have filed similar lawsuits.
In the end, a high level of responsibility rests with manufacturers, hospitals, and doctors—the specialists that patients must rely on to get training, keep up with new information, and take extreme care in writing prescriptions and monitoring use. Without full participation by these parties, the epidemic will continue. For example, prescription drug monitoring programs now exist in every state, to allow doctors and pharmacists to access patients’ prescription histories, but only 53% of doctors reported using them, while 22% weren’t even aware that they were available.
If you or a loved one have become addicted, had an overdose, or otherwise been harmed by the over-prescription of opioids, such as the ones in the list below, a lawsuit may be appropriate. Fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.
- Vicodin (hydrocodone)
- OxyContin (oxycodone)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
- Methadose, Diskets, Dolophine (methadone)
- Percodan (aspirin/oxycodone)
- Percocet (acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Demerol (meperidine)
- Tylox (acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Duragesic or fentanyl pain patch (sold under brand names Sandoz, Watson and Mylan)
Article Type: Investigation