Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for Mississippi families whose loved one became addicted to prescription opioids and then died as the result of an accidental overdose on the drugs. Opioids are a popular form of treatment by doctors, but many of them are also highly addictive and once a person becomes hooked on them, it is extremely difficult to break the addiction. Alleging that distributors, pharmacies, doctors and pharmaceutical firms disregarded this risk in order to make hefty profits off of patients, dozens of lawsuits have been filed by families and communities. People grieving the loss of a family member to opioid addiction may be able to hold responsible parties financially accountable with the assistance of a bad drug attorney.
If you have a loved one who died from an accidental opioid 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 History of Opioids
Most people do not realize that all opioids are related chemically to opium, a drug that has been used medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, it is a naturally-occurring milky-white substance that “seeps from cuts in the unripe poppy seed pod” which is dried after growers scrape it off. It should be noted that opium only comes from opium poppies, since there are several varieties of poppies available for gardeners to choose from. While it is illegal to grow opium poppies in the U.S., opium is still a valuable medical product and is legally grown in Australia, India and Turkey.
Morphine is a purer form of opium that was discovered when a chemist in the early 1800s broke down opium in a lab, and it is still used as a medical treatment for pain. Heroin, another component of opium, also started out as a medicinal drug in the late 1800s and early 1900s before it was declared illegal to purchase, produce or possess, with the passing of the Heroin Act in 1924. Today, due to the advancements of science, there are several opioids that have been developed: OxyContin®, Vicodin®, Percocet®, Methadone, Codeine, fentanyl.
Opioids and Addiction
Opium was originally described as the joy plant by the Sumerians and because of the euphoric feelings it produced when smoked, people began to use it regularly and as a result, they became addicted. In fact, addiction grew into such a problem in China that the emperor launched two wars with Britain in an effort to eradicate it from the country. The release of morphine and then heroin, which are much stronger than opium, resulted in more people becoming addicted and eventually dying from their addiction. After the Civil War, it was estimated that close to 100,000 Americans – mostly southerners – struggled with an addiction to morphine and opium, The Journal of the Civil War states.
Today, that number has climbed to the millions, causing the federal government to declare a national epidemic that has spread to every state in the country, including Mississippi. Mississippi Public Broadcasting recently reported that in 2018, close to eight million prescriptions for opioids were written out by doctors in the state. The most recent numbers show that heroin use rose 5.1 percent in 2014, as people turned to the drug for its cheaper price and stronger effects. The Clarion Ledger stated in 2017 that the number of deaths caused by an overdose on opioids had already reached 195 and was expected to grow to 200 – a 100 percent increase from the 99 deaths in 2016. The reason for the increase was attributed to the new trend of mixing heroin with fentanyl, which can cause death upon the first use of it.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Overwhelmed with the challenges of responding to the opioid epidemic in their communities, countless lawsuits have been filed against companies that distribute and make opioids, and these include the following:
- A multibillion-dollar suit was filed by the Cherokee Nation in 2017 against several companies, including Walgreens, Walmart and Cardinal Health, claiming the companies shipped large quantities of opioids into its communities.
- New York City filed a lawsuit in 2017, alleging that Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, Purdue Pharma and others mislead the public about the safety of opioids while sending more pills than reasonably needed to its neighborhoods.
- West Virginia settled its lawsuit with Cardinal Health in 2017, which alleged the company sent millions of opioid pills into the state, for $20 million.
- McKesson Corporation agreed to pay $150 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to report suspicious amounts of opioids to five states in 2017.
In November of 2017, the Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that make opioids, joining two other hospitals from another state. The hospital claims doctors were assured that addiction to opioids was low and that the companies engaged in aggressive marketing tactics. The hospital states it treats people struggling with addiction, infants born with an addiction to opioids, and people who have overdosed on opioids. Many have no means to pay, which means the hospital has had to absorb the costs, which can be significant.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Mississippi. 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.