During that year, nearly 64,000 Americans died as a result of drug overdoses. Research has even shown that this epidemic is at least somewhat to blame for the recent drop in American life expectancy by approximately two years.
“Opioids” refers to a powerful class of drug that is intended to provide relief to patients suffering from chronic pain. Some examples of commonly prescribed opioid drugs are oxycodone, codeine, methadone, morphine, and fentanyl. You may recognize them by their specific brand names, such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, and the like.
While these drugs can provide much-needed relief to those with chronic pain, it’s also worth noting that opioids can be extremely addictive and lead to long-term and dangerous dependence; and, of course, when these drugs end up in the wrong hands, they’re especially dangerous. The risk of addiction and overdose is extremely high; in fact, opioid overdose now accounts for more deaths nationwide than many street drugs, such as heroin and even cocaine.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of an opioid overdose, you may be wondering whether you have any legal recourse against the pharmaceutical companies making these drugs or the physician who prescribed them. At The Cochran Firm of Philadelphia, our legal team has years of experience in handling opioid overdose cases, and we’re ready to fight for you. Contact us at (800) 969-4400 to schedule a free case evaluation with us today.
Many experts suggest that America’s opioid epidemic first began back in the 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies began pushing for more doctors to prescribe their painkilling drugs. During this time, it is believed, these companies often misled and even downright lied to doctors and physicians about the known side effects and safety issues associated with opioid drugs. The motivation? Profit. Many doctors, who were under increased pressure from medical associations and government agencies to treat chronic pain more proactively and seriously, began prescribing opioids more frequently to patients with complex chronic pain issues.
Over the years, doctors even began prescribing patients with more pills than they actually “needed” in an effort to keep patients satisfied. This led to an oversaturation of sorts. With more of these pills in circulation, it unfortunately became easier for opioids to get into the wrong hands. Gradually, even those who were never prescribed opioids by a doctor or physician were beginning to use them, either to self-medicate or for a quick high. These problems have only compounded over the past few years, and the country is currently at an all-time annual high for opioid overdoses.
In recent years, as the widespread opioid problem in the United States has become increasingly difficult to ignore or sweep under the rug, prescribing physicians and pharmaceutical companies themselves have begun to be called into question. Specifically, it has been proven that many pharmaceutical companies initially lied to doctors and physicians about the potential side effects and risks of addiction that come along with taking opioid medications. Furthermore, doctors have begun to be scrutinized more for their over-prescribing of these medications, especially now that the risk of addiction is so widely known and accepted.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of an opioid overdose—regardless of whether your loved one had a prescription for the opioid or not—you may be able to successfully pursue an opioid overdose lawsuit. If your loved one was prescribed an opioid by a medical doctor and ended up dying of an overdose, it is possible that the prescribing doctor could be held legally responsible for the death. On the other hand, even if your loved one was not prescribed an opioid medication, there have been successful lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies by the families of loved ones who have died of an opioid overdose.
At The Cochran Firm, our Philadelphia legal team has years of experience in handling drug overdose cases and fighting for the rights and best interests of people who have watched a loved one pass away as a result of this widespread epidemic. If you’re wondering whether you have a case, please don’t delay in scheduling your free case evaluation with us. You can reach our office by calling (800) 969-4400. We look forward to meeting with you and providing you with the legal advice you’re seeking.