The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities across the country, causing needless pain and suffering as well as many deaths. Some experts identify the opioid epidemic as responsible for the decline in life expectancy among the U.S. population.
If you or a loved one has been affected by the epidemic, you might be able to bring a lawsuit for compensation. At VanDerGinst Law, we believe that the negligent and careless medical care has added fuel to the epidemic, as doctors have over-prescribed opioid drugs, many of which get sold on the black market.
If you have been injured, we can help. Contact us today.
What Are Opioids?
As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids include not only illegal drugs like heroin, but also prescription pain relievers such as morphine, codeine, and oxycodone. Opioids work on certain receptors in the brain to block pain. However, the drugs also create a euphoria or “high” that can become addicting. Many people prescribed opioids will become addicted and are at risk of an overdose as they chase the high.
Opioids include the following drugs:
Brand names may include:
- Hysingla ER
The Startling Numbers
The opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions, and the statistics are startling:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 7 of 10 drug overdoses in 2017 involved an opioid.
- The number of overdose deaths from opioids was 600% higher in 2017 than in 1999, when the crisis began.
- Around 130 people die every day from an overdose of opioids.
- The total number of people who have died of opioid overdose from 1999 to 2017 totals nearly 400,000 people.
Even when people do not die, they can struggle with addiction for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, help is available, and you should contact a doctor or hospital if you know a loved one is struggling with addiction. Opioid addiction is a treatable condition, and there are many options available.
Legal Liability for Opioid Death
Many people blame the drug user for his or her own death, believing that nothing would happen if the person had not become addicted. However, this approach is too simplistic. Many of those who become addicted took opioids under a doctor’s care. Further, many doctors prescribed opioids when safer alternatives existed, so some people became unnecessarily hooked on the drug.
Some pharmacies have also continued to refill prescriptions even when it became apparent that the patient was addicted. This is dangerous behavior that makes health care providers partially responsible for the deaths of thousands of people every year due to opioid overdoses.
Suing the Opioid Manufacturer
Proving liability in opioid injury lawsuits is difficult. Drug manufacturers don’t want to accept their responsibility in the epidemic or the fallout caused by addiction.
However, there may be ways to hold wholesalers and manufacturers responsible for their role in this serious nationwide crisis. These companies owe a duty to the public to help divert suspicious shipments of drugs. This is required by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Beyond that, they must also disclose serious risks associated with the drugs they produce and sell. This includes risk for addiction.
The bottom line is this – these companies are producing dangerous drugs, and in many cases, it is clear they aren’t doing the necessary work to help prevent serious issues from developing.
Opioid Addicted Babies
In some extremely unfortunate cases, babies can be born addicted to opioids. This, of course, is through no fault of their own.
The rising use in opioids has directly caused more infants to be born with serious addictions that must be treated immediately. They cause serious injuries and birth defects and put the infant at risk for death. In some cases, these issues were actually caused by drug therapy programs designed to help addicted mothers get through their pregnancies.
Some of the injuries, complications, and other issues that can occur include:
- Heart Problems
- Cleft Palate
- Cleft Lip
- Spina bifida
- Transverse limb deficiency
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- and many more
The VanDerGinst Law team proudly represents babies and children affected by the ongoing opioid crisis.
Speak with an Opioid Epidemic Attorney Today
At VanDerGinst Law, we have seen up close the ravages of the opioid epidemic. These cases are more complicated than the public often realizes, with many grieving families looking to pick up the pieces as best they can.
If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact us today.
We can hold medical professionals accountable for pushing dangerous, addiction-forming opioids on unsuspecting patients.
We offer a free consultation if you call us toll-free at 800-797-5391.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.