Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Illinois if they have lost a loved one due to an opioid addiction. Opioids are popular as treatment for pain, but they also pose a serious risk of addiction because they contain chemicals that make people feel really good. Derived from opium, there are several brands of prescription opioids available, but lawsuits filed against companies that make, sell and distribute them, claim these companies flooded the market and deceived the public about the risk of addiction. People who have lost a loved one from an addiction to opioids may be able to seek compensation from responsible parties with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one died of an opioid overdose, contact Attorney Group to learn about your options. We offer free, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated opioid overdose lawyer who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What are Opioids?
Inside the human brain are receptors and these receptors send messages to the rest of the body, generating the feelings that people experience, such as pain. When opioids enter the body, they travel to these receptors and do two things; they block the pain messages the receptors are receiving and sending to the brain, and they produce dopamine – a chemical in the brain that acts as a reward system and makes people feel happy. This effect makes them popular with patients and doctors alike, and they are used to treat such conditions as fibromyalgia, cancer pain, back pain, shoulder pain, migraine headaches, degenerative disc disease and post-surgical pain.
Opioids can be traced to one source – opium – which was discovered around 3.400 B.C. in Southeast Asia. Originally used as a recreational drug, medical physicians in the Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilizations found it was an effective anesthetic and reliever of pain, according to Frontline. In the early 1800s, a German scientist discovered a compound within opium that was believed to be more effective when separated out and it was called morphine. Morphine was used heavily as a pain reliever during the Civil War and then in the late 1800s, a new substance was found in opium that would forever change the way that people used opioids – heroin.
Risks of Opioids
Opium had always been known to have addictive qualities, but the addiction to morphine was even more severe, especially for Civil War veterans and civilian survivors who were prescribed opium and morphine by doctors of the time, according to The Journal of the Civil War Era. One estimate claimed that addiction affected between 80,000 and 100,000 Americans, most of them in the southern states, who were devastated by the war and used the drugs as a coping mechanism. When heroin was found by a chemist in 1898, physicians thought they had a more effective treatment without the addiction effects, but it was soon realized that heroin was more powerful than opium and morphine, and Congress made it illegal to use in the 1920s.
In the past 40 years, opioids have generated a new addiction epidemic that is worst than previous ones, as doctors have moved more toward the importance of controlling pain and making sure their patients are comfortable. The Illinois Department of Human Services reports increasing numbers of fatalities connected to opioid use; the latest statistics report that 1,826 people died as a result of overdose in 2016, a 70 percent growth when compared to numbers from 2013. In an effort to save lives, the state made it legal for anyone to administer Naloxone to someone experiencing an opioid overdose and even offers training sites where people can learn how to give the reversal drug safely. Physicians and pharmacies within the state can also view the histories of patients to see what kinds of opioids they have been prescribed in the past and how much, so that they can work together to identify someone with high risk behaviors.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Cook County continues to see high numbers of opioid fatalities and, as a result of the problem they are experiencing, officials have filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, whom they allege are responsible for the existing crisis. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of suits filed by other Illinois counties that name doctors as well as pharmaceutical companies as the parties responsible for their community epidemics. These filings claim that doctors’ willingness to overprescribe opioids and the companies’ fraudulent marketing campaigns created a situation that has financially sapped county budgets as they try to handle the economic impact.
Throughout the country, tribal nations, states and even the federal government have filed legal actions against pharmaceutical companies, as well as distributors, pharmacies and doctors. In 2017, distributor Cardinal Health, agreed to pay West Virginia $20 million to settle the lawsuits filed there; and McKesson Corporation, a drug distributor, was banned from sending opioids to five states and agreed to pay $150 million to those states after it reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to report suspicious shipments.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Illinois Injury Attorney Group. You can fill out the form on this page or contact us by phone or email.
After you contact us, an attorney will follow up to answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.