Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit might be an option for people living in Pennsylvania if they are grieving the loss of a parent, child or sibling from an opioid addiction. In the past 20 years, the numbers of people who are becoming addicted to opioids has grown substantially, initiating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to declare a national epidemic. Opioid addiction destroys not only families, but entire communities as their funds are depleted with the costs of going after street dealers, responding to overdose calls, providing drug treatment programs and burying those who die of opioid abuse. Hundreds of lawsuits claim that opioid retailers, distributors and the manufacturers themselves are responsible for the economic strains caused by the opioid crisis. Families with loved ones who became addicted to opioids and then died from an accidental opioid overdose may be able to seek financial justice with the assistance of a bad drug attorney.
If you have lost a loved one due to opioid addiction, 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.
Opioids Through the Centuries
Opioids have a long and colorful history that goes all the way back to the Sumerian civilization in about 3,400 B.C. when opium was discovered. Opium is harvested from the seed pod of the opium poppy in the form of a thick white liquid that seeps out of cuts in the pod made with a knife, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Museum. After this substance dries out (usually in a wood box), it can be smoked for recreational purposes or shipped to pharmaceutical companies for use in medical drugs. While opium is illegal in the U.S., it is grown legally for the medical industry in Australia, India and Turkey.
From opium came other opioids: morphine and heroin were discovered by chemists in the 1800s, Percocet® and Vicodin® were released in the 1970s and 1980s, and then Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin® in the 1990s. Today there is a wide range of opioids that are available and they are all used to treat painful medical conditions such as cancer, post-surgical pain, arthritis, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain.
A History of Addiction
Many people may think that addiction is a modern term, but the truth is that addiction and opioids have always gone hand-in-hand. China was so concerned about the number of its citizens becoming addicted to opioids that were brought into the country by the British, it initiated two wars commonly known as the Opium Wars and lost both times. In the United States, tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers and southerners developed an addiction to opium and morphine, generating what is known as the first national drug epidemic. Opioid addiction soared again when GIs returned from Vietnam with an addiction to heroin and today, it has reached its highest numbers yet – according to government statistics, more people die from accidental overdoses on opioids than they do from car accidents.
Pennsylvania is experiencing its own opioid crisis – so much so, that in January 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, signed a disaster declaration for the entire state that contains several initiatives. These include the following:
- Increased access to the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone
- An opioid command center will be created
- Providing medication-assisted treatment to more people in the state
- The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program will be extended
- Providing birth certificates to people without a fee so they receive treatment for their addiction
Opioid addiction has ravaged the state; NBC Philadelphia reported that in 2016, 4,884 people died as the result of an opioid overdose – a 39 percent increase from the 3,505 deaths in 2015.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Several counties in Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Allegheny County, and Cambria County have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, alleging they are responsible for the damages caused to their communities by the opioid crisis. The lawsuits claim that drug makers took scientific literature and manipulated it to meet their own needs – primarily to convince the medical communities that their opioids were non-addictive. The counties allege that the companies engaged in a campaign targeting the beliefs long held by physicians that opioids were risky to prescribe, paying doctors to write articles that promoted opioids as a safe treatment option for pain.
Across the country, several hundred lawsuits have been filed, making similar claims against not only drug manufacturers, but also distributors and retailers. Native American tribes, states, counties, cities and families of victims allege that the opioid epidemic was spawned by the actions of these companies. In 2017, West Virginia received a $20 million-dollar settlement in its lawsuit filed against drug distributor, Cardinal Health, and more settlements are expected to follow.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for Pennsylvania. 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.