Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be one option for people in South Carolina, who are struggling with the loss of a family member who died after accidentally overdosing on opioids. When a person becomes addicted to opioids, it affects their entire life; they often lose their job, home, children and even spouse. Today, opioid addiction has become so prevalent that tens of thousands lose their lives every year and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called it a national epidemic. While opioid addiction has always been an issue, many say it would never have reached this level had it not been for the actions of opioid manufacturers. Now those manufacturers, along with distributors and retailers, have been named in hundreds of lawsuits that claim they engaged in deceptive marketing and flooded communities with opioids. People whose loved one fatally overdosed on opioids may be able to hold the parties responsible with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If your loved one died after accidentally overdosing on opioid drugs, 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 a class of painkilling drugs that are connected to opium, a drug that occurs naturally and has been used medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years. All modern opiates are compared, in relation to their pain reducing strength, against morphine, which is a drug compound found in opium that was discovered in 1803 by a chemist. There are a wide range of opioid drugs and these include the following:
Heroin is another opioid; many people are unaware that heroin is a watered-down version of morphine and that it was used medicinally in cough syrups in the early 1900s, according to Frontline.
Since the Sumerian civilization, in 3,400 B.C., opium has been recognized by physicians as a successful and effective treatment for pain. It was used for a variety of medical conditions by the Greeks, Romans, Persians and Egyptians, such as female diseases, internal diseases and childbirth. Opium and morphine were popular drugs for doctors during the American Civil War for their ability to block pain as well as make the person feel calm and happy. Today, opioids are used for every type of painful condition including arthritis, sprained shoulders, post-surgical pain, cancer, broken bones and fibromyalgia.
The Addictive Nature of Opioids
Between the 1920s and the 1980s, opioids were rarely used by American doctors for one very troubling reason – they were highly addictive. When heroin was identified in the late 1890s, doctors were sure it would cure the addiction of tens of thousands of people – many of them Civil War veterans – but instead, it worsened the problem because it was actually stronger than morphine in its addictive properties. This led to the Heroin Act of 1924, which declared it illegal for people to possess, purchase or take heroin, but it didn’t put an end to the problem as heroin was soon made outside a laboratory and sold on the street. When OxyContin® was released by Purdue Pharma in the mid-1990s, literature began to appear that talked about how wonderful opioids were for the treatment of pain and within a short period of time, the numbers of prescriptions written for opioids grew significantly.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control states that in 2015, death by homicide took a backseat to death by accidental opioid overdoses; 512 people died. That number increased to 550 deaths caused by opioid overdose in 2016, and to combat the problem, the agency has been working to develop better tracking of opioid prescriptions.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
In 2007, Purdue Pharma agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by the U.S. Department of Justice and dozens of families after investigators found evidence the drug manufacturer was giving doctors charts with data that was false. Three of the company’s top executives pleaded guilty to fraud charges and the company paid out $600 million. The company also allegedly told the medical community its opioids were safe to use; there was a very low risk of addiction to patients.
Now South Carolina claims in its own 2017 lawsuit, that Purdue Pharma has continued its allegedly deceptive marketing practices. The lawsuit states the company has advertised its drugs as being better to use than other available pain relief treatments and that the risk of addiction is not a high one. The company has also been named in lawsuits filed by counties within the state as well as government entities, states and Native American tribes throughout the country who are struggling with their own epidemics. Lawsuits have also been filed against distributors for shipping more opioids than needed to communities, as well as to retailers and to doctors who allegedly failed to warn their patients about the risks concerning opioids and/or received kickbacks from the opioid companies.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for South Carolina. 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.