Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Louisiana who have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic there. Since the 1990s, opioid addiction has grown exponentially, leaving thousands of families across the United States grieving the loss of family members who died after overdosing on them. Alleging that opioid manufacturers, pharmacies, distributors and even physicians are responsible for the wide-scale availability of the drugs, countless lawsuits have been filed. People who have lost a loved one to opioid addiction 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.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a medication used primarily for the relieving of pain and they date back thousands of years to the discovery of opium, sometime around 3,400 B.C. in Southeast Asia. The drug attaches itself to receptors located inside the brain where it blocks the messages pertaining to physical pain and simultaneously releases dopamine, the chemical that generates the feeling of pleasure. Consequently, people not only lose the sensation of pain, but they also feel calmer and happier, and some go into a state of euphoric bliss where day-to-day stresses and other difficult emotions disappear.
There are several opioids available for medical use today and they include the following:
In the past 30 years, doctors have increasingly used opioids to alleviate their patients’ pain, following a change in protocol that puts more emphasis on people’s overall comfort levels. While opioids were originally reserved for only terminal conditions and severe diseases, today they are given as treatment for back pain, shoulder strains, post-surgical pain, migraine headaches and torn ligaments.
The Risk of Taking Opioids
Any medication comes with some form of risk, but opioids can be especially dangerous to use because they produce the euphoric state discussed above, and this can lead to a long-lasting and fatal addiction to them. The Louisiana Commission on Preventing Opioid Abuse’ 2017 legislative report states addiction is a brain disease that causes people to continuously seek out and use a drug, regardless of how much harm it can cause them. Throughout the U.S. from 1999 to 2014, 165,000 people died after overdosing on opioids, making them the most addicting drugs in existence.
In Louisiana, opioid overdose deaths were highest in the New Orleans parishes, with one parish reporting an annual death rate of over 50 and another reporting 50 deaths a year. This has been influenced by the fact that Louisiana ranks No. 7 in the nation for the highest number of opioid prescriptions written out by doctors every year. Research done on opioid addiction shows that many people prescribed opioids turn to illicit opioids, such as heroin, which is now being laced with other opioid drugs, including fentanyl. Fentanyl is considered so harmful that a person could overdose on just one dose of it and first responders must take care to make sure they are not unknowingly exposed to it.
Opioid Lawsuits Filed
In January 2018, the state of Louisiana announced it was filing a lawsuit against the makers of opioids, and it has been joined by several parishes as well as the cities of Covington and Baton Rouge. The lawsuit seeks legal compensation for the expenses the state’s government bodies have had to incur as a result of the opioid epidemic, which they claim is a result of the companies’ marketing campaigns that claimed opioids were safe to use.
However, a new class action petition filed by a Louisiana family in February 2018 against drug manufacturers, distributors and a local pharmacy, claims that these companies are also responsible for their child’s Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The lawsuit states that the mother became addicted to opioids she was prescribed for injuries suffered in a car accident and that as a result, the baby also became addicted while still in the womb. The family held a press conference and invited all Louisiana families dealing with the same situation to join their suit. If the lawsuit is successful, experts say it could open the door for other class actions across the nation and that it has the potential to impact opioid companies for a long time.
Opioid companies have already settled several lawsuits filed by federal, state, county and family plaintiffs, paying millions of dollars in fines and compensation. In 2017, Cardinal Health, a distributor, agreed to pay $20 million to the state of West Virginia; McKesson Corp, another distributor, paid $150 million to the federal government for failing to report suspicious orders of opioids being shipped to five states; and Purdue Pharma is rumored to be planning a global settlement to end the lawsuit and investigative actions over its opioid, OxyContin.®
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for Louisiana. 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.