Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an available choice for people living in North Carolina whose loved one died from an addiction to opioids. Since the 1990s, opioid addiction has spread through every state of the nation and the death toll from accidental overdoses has increased with each passing year. The epidemic, while not the first to happen in the United States, has left communities, families and first responders asking many questions. Many have filed lawsuits against the companies that distribute and manufacture prescription opioids, claiming these firms are responsible because they aggressively marketed the addictive drugs and then sent large shipments of pills to states, making them easily accessible. People who are suffering the loss of a loved one to an accidental opioid overdose may be able to seek appropriate compensation from those parties responsible with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one died as the result of an accidental overdose involving 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.
Opioids and Controlling Pain
In the late 1980s and 1990s, a shift occurred in the medical community when articles began appearing, talking about the importance of the patient’s comfort level. During this same time, new opioids were released from companies like Endo Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma, along with videos and written papers describing the benefits of opioids for people struggling with chronic pain. CNN reports that as the focus on controlling pain increased, a pain assessment standard for medical centers and doctors was established in 2001 by the Joint Commission.
Opioids are proven to be highly effective in treating pain due to their ability to block pain-related messages inside the brain. Historic records going back to the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Persians reveal doctors used the origin of all organic opioids, opium, as a painkiller. In the United States, military doctors in the Civil War administered opium and the recently discovered morphine, to soldiers who were wounded, and morphine continues to be the most powerful medicinal opioid used by the medical community today; all modern opioids’ painkilling strength is determined through a comparison with morphine. Doctors regularly prescribe opioids to people suffering from migraines, torn ligaments, fibromyalgia, cancer, degenerative disc disease, broken bones and chronic back pain.
The Addictive Side of Opioids
One major concern of doctors in the 1990s, which stemmed from the 1920s, was that opioids could lead patients down the road to drug addiction. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, tens of thousands of Americans became addicted to opium and morphine; it was so prevalent among Civil War veterans, it was termed the “soldiers’ disease.” Then chemists discovered heroin, which was toted as safer to use then opium and morphine, and it was added to cough syrups for children and adults by the Bayer Company. After patients were weaned off morphine and opium with heroin, doctors found this new opioid was even more potent and this led to the passing of the Heroin Act in 1924.
For the next seven decades, opioids were prescribed only to patients with a terminal condition or with cancer, but modern doctors in the 1990s and early 2000s were soon persuaded by written material, including a book published by the Joint Commission, which claimed that these new opioids on the market were safer to use. As opioid prescriptions grew though, so too did the number of people becoming addicted to them. In North Carolina, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services reports that 12,000 people in the state died over a period of 17 years as the result of an overdose on opioids.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
To date, more than two dozen North Carolina counties have filed lawsuits against companies that distribute and manufacture prescription opioids. In May of 2018, the state of North Carolina announced it was filing its own lawsuit, naming Purdue Pharma the sole defendant. The filing claims the opioid manufacturer told doctors the following: their drugs could be administered in whatever strength of dose that the patient needed; if patients showed signs of addiction or risky behavior, it was a sign they were not receiving enough opioids and were suffering from “pseudo-addiction”; and using non-opioids for chronic pain like acetaminophen or basic aspirin, was actually riskier for patients than prescription opioids.
North Carolina and its counties are not the only government entities to file a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and others. The U.S. Department of Justice took legal action of its own in 2004, alleging that Purdue Pharma had deceived doctors and the public with charts containing falsified data. The company settled in 2006 with three company executives pleading guilty to charges of fraud and a payment of $600 million – part of which was given to families of people who died of an opioid overdose that started with the company’s prescription drugs. Since 2017, dozens of states, counties, states and even Native American tribes have been filing their own lawsuits in an effort to hold opioid companies financially responsible for the crisis in their communities.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the North Carolina Injury Attorney Group. You can fill out the form on this page or contact us by phone or email.
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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.