Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Indiana who have lost a family member to an addiction on opioids. Many do not realize that opioids are developed from opium, a naturally grown drug that dates back to at least 3,400 B.C. in Southeast Asia and has addictive qualities contained within it. Today, opioids can be both natural and synthetic, but they still are addictive substances, an element which lawsuits claim companies in the pharmaceutical industry failed to divulge, generating a national epidemic where thousands die every year from overdose. People who are grieving a loved one may be able to obtain compensation from those responsible with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one became addicted to opioids and died from an 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.
Opioids – What are They?
When people suffer an injury, develop a debilitating disease or must undergo surgery, their doctor is likely to prescribe opioids to manage their pain and there are several brands of opioids available. These include the following:
- Percocet ®
- Tramadol ®
- Vicodin ®
- Demerol ®
The above opioids are prescription-only drugs, but there are also illegal opioids like opium, the original opioid, and heroin, which can be purchased on the street and is widely available. The popularity of opioids as painkillers has greatly increased over the last several decades. When OxyContin® was released in 1996 by manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, prescriptions for opioids jumped from eight million to 11 million prescription in one year, according to CNN. Today, the U.S. is the top consumer of hydromorphone, oxycodone and hydrocodone at 65, 80, and 99 percent, respectively, and in 2011, the number of prescriptions reached 219 million.
Addiction Risk and Opioids
When opioids enter the brain, they produce a chemical, called dopamine, that generates feelings of pleasure and it is this effect that leads people down the road to addiction and potential overdose. Since opium was discovered by the Sumerians and other ancient civilizations, a pattern of addiction and epidemics has followed. In the United States, the first opioid epidemic came after the Civil War, when thousands of soldiers and veterans became addicted to morphine as well as opium, and the drug was sought as a way to deal with the devastation of the war, especially in the south. The next epidemic occurred in the early 1900s when heroin was prescribed as a solution to morphine addiction because physicians didn’t realize it was purer and therefore, more potent in its addictive qualities.
The current opioid epidemic, which has spread rapidly throughout the country, has left millions of people struggling with the throes of addiction. In Indiana, WTHR News reported that every day, the coroner’s office in Tippecanoe County deals with victims of the opioid epidemic and they had to expand their department with a new refrigerating unit to handle the increasing number of bodies coming in. Between the years 2010 and 2016, Indiana saw a 271 percent increase in fatal opioid overdoses – 2016 numbers reached 757. First responders are giving those who overdose on opioids Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, but the numbers are still too high and are expected to climb.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Modern Healthcare states that Indiana holds the ninth place in the country for the most prescriptions handed out and counties within the state allege this is due to the large amounts of opioids that distributors shipped to them, in lawsuits filed at the beginning of 2018. One lawsuit states that distributors knew there was no medical justification for the number of opioid pills they were shipping and that they “willingly and knowingly became participants in the black market they were fueling.” Other counties have named manufacturers of opioids, like Purdue Pharma, responsible for the epidemic, alleging the companies deliberately mislead doctors into believing their drugs were safe and encouraged the doctors to freely prescribe the opioids, knowing all along that they were highly addictive.
This is not the first time Purdue Pharma has been named in a lawsuit; the United States Department of Justice filed its own suit against the pharmaceutical company in 2004. The company reached a settlement in 2007, after it was revealed investigators found Purdue Pharma had created charts with false information on them to convince doctors their opioid, OxyContin®, posed little risk of addiction to patients. The company paid $600 million and three of its executives pled guilty to fraud charges filed against them. In recent years, multimillion-dollar settlements have been reached with distributors and manufacturers in other lawsuits filed by states, families, counties and cities.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Indiana 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.