Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Minnesota who have lost a loved one after they became addicted to opioids and then died from that addiction. Opioid addiction is a serious issue that affects thousands of families throughout the United States and it is estimated that it will takes years for communities to recover. While opioid addiction has existed in the country since the 1800s, countless lawsuits claim the current epidemic has been caused by pharmaceutical companies and other entities that downplayed these risks in order to boost their profit line. People whose loved one has died as the result of an accidental overdose on opioids may be able to seek appropriate financial compensation from the parties responsible with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one died as the result of their addiction to opioids, 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 class of drugs that are often called narcotics, and they are used by physicians to treat patients who are experiencing pain. Their popularity stems from the fact that they produce a chemical called dopamine inside the brain, which generates the feeling of pleasure, while blocking messages concerning physical pain. The drugs are made both synthetically and naturally, and can be traced back to one drug that has been used for thousands of years by many powerful civilizations – opium.
Opium is a drug manufactured from the milky-white substance that is scraped off of the pod seed of the poppy plant, and it dates back to at least 3,400 B.C., according to records found in Southeast Asia from the Sumerians. It was used both medicinally and recreationally by the Egyptians, Romans and even the Greeks, and early physicians recognized its ability to relieve pain. As chemists studied the drug in the 1800s, they discovered morphine and heroin, and this eventually led to the development of new opioids, starting in the 1970s, that include the following:
While all opioids’ effectiveness is compared against morphine, one of the more powerful drugs is fentanyl, which is used in hospital settings to provide comfort to cancer patients and those with a terminal illness.
The Addictiveness of Opioids
While opioids are perhaps the most effective drugs for the treatment of pain, they are also highly addictive and even people who are taking them under the direction of a doctor can find themselves hooked on the drugs. Statistics for 2016 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that 11.5 million people were misusing prescription opioids and 2.1 million had done so for the first time. Research indicates that many people who become addicted to prescription painkillers turn to heroin because it is cheaper, stronger and easier to get and together, heroin and other opioids were the cause of the deaths of 42,249 people nationwide.
In Minnesota, the number of prescriptions that doctors wrote for opioids reached 3.5 million in 2016, according to Twin Cities.com and opioid overdoses took the lives of 395 people in the state. Not only does opioid addiction affect the person struggling with it, but also the families and community at large, leaving families financially, emotionally and mentally exhausted; and draining city and county budgets as they try to cope with the heightened costs of law enforcement actions, drug treatment programs and attempting to save the lives of people who have overdosed on opioids.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
In November 2017, several counties in Minnesota, including Ramsey and Washington, announced they had filed lawsuits against distributors and manufacturers of prescription opioids, alleging they were responsible for the epidemics in their communities. The legal actions claim that the companies sent unusually large shipments of opioids while downplaying their addictiveness to the public and the medical community as a whole. Those lawsuits were then followed by one from Anoka County in January 2018 and one from St. Louis County, which was filed in March 2018.
These are not the first lawsuits to be filed in the U.S. against companies involved with opioids. In 2017 alone, dozens of lawsuits were filed by Native American tribes, states, counties, cities and even the federal government. The first large-scale settlement occurred in 2006 when Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin®, paid out $600 million in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, whose investigators found evidence that the company created charts concerning the addictive qualities of their drug with data that was falsified. Two opioid distributors settled cases in 2017 concerning large shipments of the drugs to communities, agreeing to pay millions of dollars.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for Minnesota. 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.