Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Iowa who are mourning the loss of family members to opioid addiction. Opioid addiction has become a national epidemic, leaving thousands of people dead every year from overdose. Lawsuits filed against manufacturers and distributors allege these companies are responsible, engaging in aggressive marketing tactics, misleading the public about the safety of their prescription drugs and sending large amounts of opioid pills into the communities. People who have lost a loved one because of opioids, may be able to seek appropriate compensation from responsible parties with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one became addicted to opioids and then died after overdosing on them, 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?
Records found from 3,400 B.C. show that Southeast Asian civilizations discovered a milky-white substance on the pod seed of a poppy that produced feelings of joy when it was dried and smoked, and they named it opium. As the drug was exported and traded to other civilizations, such as the Egyptians and the Greeks, physicians discovered that it could be used for medical purposes, including the reduction of pain. In the 1800s, chemists broke down opium, discovering two new drugs that were more powerful – morphine and heroin.
In the 1970s, new opioids were released from pharmaceutical companies and others soon followed. These include the following:
When someone takes an opioid, the drug travels to the brain where it attaches itself to opioid receptors, and essentially blocks pain messages from being sent to other parts of the body. Additionally, dopamine (the chemical that is known to produce feelings of pleasure or happiness) production in the brain increases due to the influence of the opioid, helping people feel emotionally and mentally better. This combination makes opioids a popular treatment for doctors and patients alike, and millions of prescriptions are written out every year.
Addiction and Opioids
While it is true that opioids can be an effective medical treatment for pain, the production of dopamine makes them highly addictive for many patients and it is not uncommon for people to start mixing different opioids together or seek out more dangerous ones, like heroin and fentanyl, to achieve that ‘high feeling’ they are looking for. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported the following facts:
- Opioid overdoses resulted in 42,249 deaths nationwide – 116 every day
- Opioid addiction affected 2.1 million Americans
- Prescription opioids were misused by 11.5 million people
- The economic impact of opioid use reached $504 billion
Iowa has not experienced the same devastating numbers of opioid overdoses as other states, but opioid addiction is a serious problem and the number of people who are fatally overdosing on illegal opioids is increasing, according to The University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center. Reviewing insurance claims and death certificates, researchers have found a steady increase in overdoses involving heroin, dating back to 2002. At the same time, overdoses involving prescription opioids has decreased, but researchers point out that this may be due to the increasing difficulty for patients to get prescription opioids and their switch over to heroin to feed their addiction.
Legal Actions Involving Opioids
In February 2018, House Bill 2377 was proposed in Iowa to address the opioid epidemic and contains several components, including the following:
- Electronic submission of prescriptions for opioids to pharmacies
- Setting up criteria to identify patients with a possible opioid problem
- Establishing penalties for doctors who prescribe excessive opioid dosages to their patients
- Mandatory reporting every time a prescribing practitioner or pharmacy dispenses a controlled substance.
Additionally, it was announced that in January 2018, federal lawsuits were filed by 36 Iowa counties against three physicians, plus five pharmaceutical companies and their subsidiaries. The lawsuits claim these parties engaged in deceptive marketing strategies, failed to report suspicious opioid orders and downplayed opioid risks.
The actions echo other similar lawsuits filed across the country by families, communities, states and the federal government, and some of these suits have already reached settlement. In 2017, a prescription drug distributor, McKesson Corporation, agreed to a ban that prohibits them from sending opioids to five states and to pay $150 million after the U.S. Department of Justice alleged they failed to report suspicious orders of opioids to those states. Another distributor, Cardinal Health, settled its lawsuit in 2017 with the state of West Virginia, agreeing to pay $20 million for shipping millions of opioid pills to communities in the state over a six-year period, but denied any wrongdoing.
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.