Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for people in the state of Oregon if they have a loved one who became addicted to prescription opioids and died from that addiction. Opioids have been in existence since biblical times and addiction has always been associated with them, especially since the discovery of morphine and heroin in the 1800s. Today, hundreds of people die every day from an accidental overdose on opioids and lawsuits claim that pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and drug retailers are responsible, alleging they engaged in fraudulent and deceptive acts to sell them to the public. People who are grieving a loved one’s death that was caused by an opioid overdose may be able hold the responsible parties financially accountable with the assistance of a bad drug attorney.
If you have been personally affected by the opioid crisis in your community, contact the 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 known in the medical community as one of the fastest and most effective ways to treat patients’ pain and they are used for a wide range of medical conditions, including the following:
- Migraine headaches
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal pain
When an opioid enters the brain and attaches itself to receptor cells, it does two things: it blocks messages concerning body pain and it produces more dopamine, which is a chemical that causes people to feel pleasure.
The original opioid is opium, which is legally grown for use in medicine today in some countries and has been in use since it was first discovered in about 3,400 B.C. Opium was recognized as having the ability to control pain in the body by early physicians; it was used as an early anesthetic as well as a treatment for female diseases and other ailments. Since the 1800s, chemists have used opium to discover and create other opioids such as morphine, heroin, OxyContin®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Tramadol® and fentanyl – used in hospital settings only to control pain for patients who are terminally ill or struggling with severe chronic pain.
Opioids and Addiction
Beyond the normal risks associated with prescription drugs, such as serious side effects, opioids pose the risk of addiction, regardless of their strength, and as prescriptions for opioids have increased over the last 20 years, so too has the numbers for opioid addiction. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports the following facts for 2016:
- Opioid overdoses were responsible for the deaths of 116 people every day.
- Excepting methadone, synthetic opioids were involved in the deaths of 19,413 Americans.
- 17,087 people fatally overdosed on commonly used prescription opioids.
- Opioid addiction affected 2.1 million people.
- Opioid overdoses, prescription and heroin, accounted for the deaths of 42,249 people.
Other reports show that the number of deaths caused by accidental overdose have risen to the No. 1 spot above auto accidents and the problem of addiction has become so serious it has been declared a national epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NBC News states that in Oregon, prescription opioids are involved in the deaths of 3 people each week and while this is lower than in other states, the addiction rates are among the nation’s highest. The new worry for state officials is the emergence of fentanyl, which can cause a fatal overdose the first time someone takes it. The drug is being found mixed with heroin or sold as heroin, which is the drug that people often move on to after they become addicted to prescription painkillers.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
A $250 million-dollar lawsuit has been filed by Multnomah County against several pharmaceutical companies it claims are responsible for the opioid crisis occurring in Portland and its surrounding areas. The legal documents allege that the companies deceived doctors into thinking that opioids were the most effective method for controlling chronic pain and that patients had little chance of becoming addicted to them. Among the companies named in the lawsuit are Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, which have been hit with lawsuits from other states, counties, families and Native American tribes.
Purdue Pharma was originally sued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2004 and during its investigation, the DOJ found evidence the company falsified data to downplay the risks associated with its opioid, OxyContin®. The company eventually settled the matter in 2006 with an agreement that three of its executives would plead guilty to fraud and that it would pay a total of $600 million to the government and to families of people who died from addiction.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Oregon Injury Attorney Group. 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.