Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in Missouri who have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic through the loss of a loved one. Opioid addiction has always been an issue, but since the 1990s, the number of people becoming addicts has spiraled to the highest levels ever, and this has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans every year. Overwhelmed, frustrated and angry, municipalities, states, families and even Native American nations have sought financial justice in the courts, alleging that the epidemic was spawned by the marketing actions and negligence of opioid distributors, manufacturers, pharmacies and even doctors. People who have lost a loved one to an accidental opioid overdose may be able to seek appropriate compensation with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If you are grieving the loss of a family member from an 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.
An Overview of Opioids
Opioids are used by doctors to relieve physical pain their patients are struggling with, and they are an extremely popular treatment. One documentary states, in fact, that the U.S. is the largest global consumer of hydrocodone at 99 percent, oxycodone at 80 percent and hydromorphone at 65 percent. These drugs are used to treat a wide range of medical conditions including the following:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Migraine headaches
- Sprained shoulders
It is easy to think of opioids as a modern medicine, but their history is a long one that extends back to at least 3,400 B.C. when opium was discovered by the Sumerians in Southeast Asia. For centuries, ancient doctors used opium to treat female disease, stomach problems, pain and even as an anesthetic. Then, scientists discovered in the 1800s that when opium was broken down, it yielded two more powerful drugs – morphine and heroin. Morphine was used along with opium by military doctors during the Civil War and heroin was put into cough syrups that were given to both adults and children until it was declared an illegal substance by the Heroin Act of 1924.
The Opioid Epidemics
The reason for the Heroin Act was the discovery that heroin was highly addictive and had the power to destroy the lives of those who used it. Addiction had always been a risk of using opium, but the scientists who discovered morphine and heroin originally believed that they were a safe alternative, only to realize after the number of opioid addicts grew exponentially, that they were more potent than the source. Having learned a hard lesson, doctors became reluctant to use opioids for their patients until new opioids were developed and launched in the 1970s and then the 1990s, and as opioid prescriptions grew, so too did addiction and overdose numbers.
In Missouri, the opioid epidemic is a serious issue that has resulted in the overdose deaths of 908 people, according to information from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. Furthermore, statistics show that opioid addiction is a problem that affects everyone: 2nd and 3rd generation families, seniors, professionals, college students, men and women, teens, parents and even unborn children. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that from July 2016 to September 2017, Missouri experienced a 21 percent rise in emergency room visits for opioid overdoses. Part of the reason for the increase is fentanyl, which is mixed with heroin by dealers or sold as heroin, and is so potent, it can be fatal the first time someone takes it.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Pharmaceutical companies, distributors and others involved with opioids have been named in numerous lawsuits as the parties responsible for the epidemic. In 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging that they engaged in fraudulent behavior. The company agreed to a settlement in 2006 that resulted in three of its executives pleading guilty to criminal fraud charges and a $600 million payment to the government and to the families of those affected by the addictive nature of its opioid, OxyContin®. In 2017, more settlements and lawsuits made headlines across the country as states and counties began to take their own legal actions.
Missouri was one of those states, filing a lawsuit against Endo Health Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma in June 2017. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case, which was denied in April 2018, paving the way for the lawsuit to move forward. The state is alleging that the companies did not inform the public or doctors of the truth concerning the addictiveness of their products, an act of fraud. Among the claims is that the defendants told medical professionals that people just thought they had an addiction and the answer is to prescribe them more opioids to treat their pseudo addiction, and that long-term use of the opioids made them non-addictive.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Missouri. 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.