Opioid Overdose Lawsuit
An opioid overdose lawsuit may be a good choice for Virginians whose family member developed an addiction to opioids and then fatally overdosed on them. Opioid addiction is a major problem in communities across the United States and poses a number of challenges as well as a drain on local resources. Families are left devastated financially because the addict often steals money or pawns off jewelry and other valuables to feed their addiction, as well as emotionally and mentally exhausted. Many victims, families and communities claim that the problem can be traced back to pharmaceutical companies and others who provided easy access to opioids and convinced the public they were safe to use. For those who have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic through the loss of a loved one, they might be able to seek financial justice with the help of a bad drug attorney.
If opioid addiction resulted in the death of a close family member, 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.
Where do Opioids Come From?
Today’s modern opioids are often developed in a pharmaceutical company’s laboratory through synthetic methods or they are discovered in the first opioid – opium. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, opium is a natural substance that comes from the seed pod of an opium poppy in the form of a milk-like fluid. Opium is only grown legally in three countries – Australia, Turkey and India – and purely for pharmaceutical use. It is harvested by being scraped off of the seed pod and then allowed to dry in the air.
Two opioids that come directly from opium are heroin and morphine, which were both discovered in the 1800s and used medicinally as well as recreationally. Morphine was used for treatment of painful injuries during the Civil War and remains the most powerful of the medicinal opioids because it is so effective. Heroin was also used medicinally during the early part of the 20th century and could be found listed as an ingredient in children’s cough medicines as well as in other remedies of the period. It would later be declared an illegal drug with the passing of the Heroin Act in 1924.
Addiction – the Primary Opioid Risk
There is always some risk that exists when it comes to taking a prescription drug, but for opioids, the risk is that a patient could become dependent on it and develop an addiction. This occurred after the Civil War because morphine and opium were the go-to-treatment for severe pain at the time and they were given to soldiers from the North and the South. Then they were given heroin, which was originally thought of as a cure for the addiction, only for doctors to find out later on it was more potent. Since the 1990s, the numbers of people using opioids for non-medical purposes have increased to epic proportions, leaving entire communities devastated.
In 2016, Virginia’s governor declared a public health emergency over the number of people who were addicted to opioids and dying of their addiction. The Virginia Department of Health’s statistics for the same year show that 1,268 people died as the result of an overdose on illegal and legal opioids and more than 10,000 visits were made to hospital emergency rooms. Additionally, there were 919 new cases of people on opioids who contracted the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and more than 2,000 cases involving people, 18-30 years of age, who were diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuits
Across the country, more than 700 lawsuits have been filed concerning the opioid addiction and these include the following:
- A multibillion-dollar lawsuit was filed against distributors including Walgreens, Walmart and Cardinal Health by the Cherokee Nation in 2017.
- New York City filed a lawsuit in 2017, naming opioid manufacturers and distributors the parties responsible for the opioid crisis within its communities.
- A family in Louisiana claims in its lawsuit that opioid manufacturers and a local pharmacy are responsible for the opioid dependency their child was born with.
- Detroit, Michigan, filed a lawsuit in 2017, alleging that its opioid crisis was caused by the actions of pharmaceutical companies and others.
Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical firm that makes OxyContin®, has been consistently named in lawsuits, and has already paid $600 million in a federal settlement after investigators found evidence the company engaged in fraud to convince doctors and patients their drug had little risk of addiction. The company’s name emerged again in 2018 when several Virginian counties, cities and then the state filed their own complaints. The complaints allege that the company and other defendants contributed to the opioid crisis by downplaying the risk of addiction, failing to stop or report large orders of opioids to communities, and violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact the Attorney Group for Virginia. 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.