Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Kansas if they have a loved one who has died after overdosing on opioids. Opioids are relied on by millions of Americans because they are highly effective in reducing physical pain, especially for serious and debilitating conditions such as cancer, fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease. At the same time, they are also highly addictive and thousands lose their life every year after overdosing on them. Families, cities and governmental bodies have alleged that pharmaceutical companies, distributors and doctors are responsible for the current epidemic that has spread throughout the country. People who are grieving the loss of a close family member to a fatal overdose may be able to obtain 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.
How Were Opioids Discovered?
It is unknown how the original opioid, opium, was discovered, but records dating to 3,400 B.C. show that Southeast Asian civilizations, like the Sumerians, were aware of the drug. According to Frontline, opium was mixed with the quintessence of gold and citrus juice in 1527, resulting in the first opioid concoction for pain relief – laudanum. About 300 years later, in 1803, morphine was discovered when a German chemist broke down opium by using a process involving acid and ammonia, and E. Merck & Company offered it for commercial sale in 1827.
As the 20th century approached, another chemist working with opium broke it down even further and discovered a purer form of the drug that would be called heroin and sold by another German pharmaceutical firm, The Bayer Company. After the passing of the Heroin Act in 1924, manufacturers stayed away from opioids for several decades until two companies claimed in the late 1970s that they had new and better drugs – Vicodin and Percocet. The release of these new opioids led to widespread interest in opioids again and generated new drugs including the following:
While opioids were generally reserved for the most extreme medical cases, doctors began prescribing this new lineup for chronic back pain, post-surgical pain and even muscle sprains.
Are Opioids Risky to Use?
Opium was originally used for recreational purposes and as it spread throughout other parts of the world, the addictiveness of the drug surfaced, so much so that in the 1800s China tried to stop the import of opium and it led to two wars with the British empire. By then, people in both continents were speaking out about the devastation that opium had caused to their families and communities. The administering of opium and morphine to soldiers in the Civil War led to the first American epidemic and the addictiveness was so common, it was called the “soldier’s disease.” The introduction of heroin was originally done to stop addiction to morphine, but it was soon realized that this new drug was more potent and therefore, more addictive.
Since the 1970s, addiction rates to opioids have increased as new drugs were released and prescribed to patients. According to CNN, in 1996, the number of opioid prescriptions had reached eight million in the U.S., but that number jumped to 11 million after the release of a new opioid called OxyContin. The state of Kansas statistics show that as prescription sales increased, so too did the number of people who died from opioid overdose. One study conducted by Johnson County reveals that in 2014, 326 people fatally overdosed on opioid drugs and out of the 326, 246 of those deaths were unintentional. It was further shown that 45 percent of those deaths were linked to prescription opioids.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits Filed
Some Kansas counties have joined other communities across the country in filing lawsuits to hold companies responsible for the economic impact the opioid epidemic has caused. In December 2017, Sedgwick County filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against several large pharmaceutical companies and distributors, including Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation, claiming the companies engaged in racketeering, conspiracy and fraud to sell their products. In April 2018, Pratt County announced that it will also be filing a lawsuit along with others in the state against companies engaging an opioid distribution and manufacturing.
Pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers have already paid millions of dollars to settle other lawsuits including the following:
- Cardinal Health agreed to pay $20 million to West Virginia in 2017
- McKesson Corporation paid $150 million in 2017 to settle a suit brought on by the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to report suspicious shipments of opioids to five states.
- Purdue Pharma paid $600 million to families and the U.S. government in 2007 after the DOJ brought charges of fraud regarding their opioid, OxyContin®.
- A Wisconsin pharmacy agreed to pay $325,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed over an opioid-related overdose.
Additionally, in 2017, Insys Therapeutics agreed to pay $4.5 million to Illinois to settle a lawsuit that claims it engaged in deceptive marketing.
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.