Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Kentucky who are grieving the loss of a close family member because of an addiction to opioids. In the past several years, opioids have been commonly prescribed by physicians for a wide assortment of pain, but now they are recognized as a highly addictive substance. Thousands of people die annually and dozens of lawsuits have been filed against companies, alleging they are responsible for the epidemic that has swept through the country. People whose loved ones have suffered a fatal overdose on opioids may be able to obtain appropriate compensation from the parties responsible with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one became addicted to opioids and then died accidently 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.
The Role Opioids Play
Opioids have been popular for thousands of years as both a recreational substance and as a medical treatment used primarily for the relief of pain. Modern science shows that when an opioid enters the body, it travels to the brain and attaches itself to receptor cells known as opioid receptors. At that time, the opioid does two things: it releases dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure; and it blocks messages from the brain to the body relating to pain. Consequently, the person feels better, calmer and even euphoric, making it possible for them to resume their daily activities once again.
There are several well-known opioids and they all derive from one natural resource – opium – which is a milky-white substance that is scraped off of the pod seed of the poppy flower and then dried. The drug can be traced back to at least 3,400 B.C., where it was cultivated, used and traded to other civilizations by the Sumerians, located in Southeast Asia. Today, there are several kinds of opioids that are obtained through prescription from a doctor and the U.S. is the top consumer for them, buying as much as 99 percent of the world’s supply of hydrocodone alone.
Addiction and Opioid Use
As the No. 1 user of opioids in the world, the U.S. is also the leader in opioid addiction and death, reporting that in 2016, more than 42,000 people lost their lives after using the substance and 2.1 million had an addiction problem with them, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. The following year, the agency declared the problem a public health emergency, but it is not the first time the nation has been gripped with an addiction epidemic. The first occurred after the Civil War when close to 100,000 people developed an addiction to opioids – many of them soldiers who were treated with morphine and opium for their severe battle injuries.
The pattern of prescription opioids leading people down the path of addiction is a common theme, with countless stories of victims who were prescribed an opioid for a medical problem and then turned to illegal opioids or purchased prescription opioids on the street, when they could no longer get a prescription for them. In a national ranking for the highest number of fatal opioid overdoses, Kentucky took the sixth place year after year, losing more than 1,400 people in 2016, NBC News recently reported. Now, fentanyl, a powerful opioid used in hospital settings for the severest medical cases, is the new concern for the state since just one dose can be fatal.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
In April 2018, a lawsuit was filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen and their parent company, Johnson & Johnson, by the state of Kentucky. In the lawsuit, the state alleges that the companies marketed their opioids as safe to use and that the risk of addiction was extremely low. The suit also alleges that elderly patients were especially targeted by the companies in their marketing campaigns and that the companies violated state laws. This is the fifth lawsuit to be filed by the state against opioid companies, and it is seeking both punitive and compensatory damages that will be used to help the state continue to combat the opioid epidemic there.
Nationwide, states, cities, counties and the federal government are also seeking to hold opioid makers, distributors and dispensaries responsible for devastation that the epidemic has caused. Costco agreed in 2017 to pay a fine of $11.75 million after the U.S. Department of Justice sued the wholesale chain for its inaccurate records concerning opioids and improper filling of prescriptions. McKesson Corporation, one of the biggest pharmaceutical distributors, settled its Department of Justice lawsuit for $150 million in 2017, agreeing to a ban that prohibits it from shipping any opioids to five states.
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