Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be an option for those living in Tennessee if they have a family member who became addicted to opioids and then died because of that addiction. Every year, it is reported that tens of thousands of people die from accidental overdose on opioids and millions more either misuse them or struggle with an addiction to them. Government entities across the country have filed lawsuits that allege opioid manufacturers, distributors, retailers and others are responsible for the current epidemic. The lawsuits claim companies misled the public and medical community about the safety and effectiveness of their products. People who are grieving the death of a loved one from an addiction to opioids may be able to seek financial justice from the parties responsible with the assistance of a bad drug attorney.
If you have lost a family member 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.
How do Opioids Work?
The term “opioids” often refer to a natural or synthetic drug, but there are other opioids that the human body produces and according to a May 2018 study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, these are considered endogenous opioids. All opioids attach themselves to receptors within the brain, called opioid receptors, and messages are exchanged between them, generating feelings of a natural high – like the euphoria one experiences from vigorous exercise – and the ability to stop feelings of pain. Opioids can also cause a calming effect, slowing a person’s breathing and the combination makes synthetic or natural drugs a popular pain treatment with doctors.
Prescription and illegal opioids can be traced to opium, a drug that has been in use for thousands of years and dates to at least the Sumerian civilization. Opium was used by many early civilizations for both recreational and medical purposes, and in the 1800s and 1900s, chemists started developing other drugs from it, including the following:
During most of the 20th century, opioids were only prescribed to patients struggling with severe, chronic pain or a terminal condition, but the use of these drugs has expanded to everything from migraine headaches to cancer.
Opioids’ Addictive Qualities
Just about every drug comes with side effects: vomiting, nausea, swelling, drowsiness, dizziness, bleeding, etc. However, opioids pose a more serious threat than discomfort and annoyance; they are highly addictive, which means people experience severe withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to go off of them. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported the following statistics concerning opioid use:
- Economic costs reached $504 billion
- Prescription misuse was a problem for 11.5 million Americans
- Synthetic opioids, excepting methadone, were involved in the deaths of over 19,000 people
- Commonly-prescribed opioids were responsible for more than 17,000 deaths
- Opioids overall led to the deaths of over 42,000 people
Tennessee Department of Health statistics show that in 2016 1,631 people died from an overdose on drugs and 1,186 of those deaths were attributed to opioids – both prescription and illegal. The statistics also show in the same year, doctors wrote out more than seven million prescriptions for painkillers. However, in 2018, the state passed new legislation that is designed to bring that number of prescriptions down; SB 2257 limits the number of opioid painkillers a doctor can give to a patient to no more than 10 days, unless that patient is suffering from a severe condition such as cancer or is in hospice care.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Alleging that opioid manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, has created a public nuisance situation in the state and breached the terms of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the company in May 2018, along with five other states. The lawsuit claims the company knew about the high addictive risks their opioid, OxyContin®, posed to patients and still continued to market it as a safe and effective treatment for pain. This is not the first lawsuit to be filed against the drug-maker; in 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice went after the company for fraudulent marketing and the resulting investigation led to a 2007 settlement where three executives pleaded guilty and a payment of $600 million was made.
In the last couple of years, states across the country, counties, cities and even Native American tribes have filed hundreds of lawsuits against companies involved with the making, distributing and selling of opioids. West Virginia received $20 million in a settlement it reached with distributor, Cardinal Health, for the devastation caused by the millions of pills sent to its communities by the company over a period of six years. Another distributor agreed to pay a $150 million fine for failing to report suspicious opioid orders sent to five states and it was banned from shipping anymore drugs to those states.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for Tennessee. 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.