Did You Lose a Family Member to an Opioid Death?
Was your son, daughter or other family member prescribed opioids by a doctor, dentist or pharmacist that lead to an Opioid death? Medical professionals have a duty to look out for their patients and ensure they “do no harm”. Many patients have been unnecessarily prescribed opioids leading to an addiction that turned fatal. Patients trust their doctors and assume they are looking out for their best interest. The lawyers at Boss Law have unfortunately seen the people we tend to trust the most abuse that power leading to overdoses and death.
What are opioids and how they work?
Opioids narcotics (or opiates) are drugs prescribed for the treatment of acute and chronic pain since they provide the most prompt and effective form of pain relief. Opioids act by binding to specific receptors found in the brain and other tissues, causing many effects other than just pain reduction. Long-term opiates use is, in fact, associated with side effects such as light intolerance, sleepiness, constipation and urinary retention.
These painkillers are prescribed to help patients cope with various types of pain caused, for example, by cancer, surgery, diabetic neuropathy, accidents and physical traumas. Up to 70% of the elderly patients and nursing home residents suffer from chronic pain conditions. Since these drugs can also cause a subjective feeling of intoxicating “high” and a sensation of relaxation and euphoria, many people keep using them illegally for recreational purposes.
Morphine and heroin are the most known opioid painkillers, but many more prescription opiates are available on the market, including:
- Oxycodone (Oxecta, OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
When it’s your family that’s grieving the loss of a loved one, you deserve more than a shoulder to cry on. You need Meds Lawsuit to help you find out the truth about who’s responsible for the death. You need someone who will make sure the responsible party faces the consequences of their actions.
How Does an Opioid Overdose Kill You?
The opioid overdose mechanism that causes death is lack of oxygen to the brain. Opiates depress respiration – in other words, they reduce the user’s breathing rate. This means the body is taking in less oxygen.
The more of a respiration-depressing medicine that a person takes, the stronger the effect on their breathing. Too much of an opioid can cause a user to go into respiratory arrest, or stop breathing completely. The lack of oxygen due to opiate overdose can cause brain damage and, if not quickly reversed, death.
Opioid Death Epidemic
The media has recently been filled with news concerning America’s (and the world’s) opioid epidemic. Stories abound concerning ever-growing levels of addiction, along with alarming trends in death and crime associated with these drugs.
Opioids are a class of drugs that are generally associated with pain reduction, but which can be highly addictive. Some occur naturally, and some are synthetic. Heroin, an opioid, is illegal. However, many opioids, such as hydromorphone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and methadone can be obtained legally with a prescription. Most medical professionals believe that prescribed opioids can be used safely when used correctly, and for a short period of time. While some people obtain the drugs illegally, many people who have become addicted started by taking the drugs with a valid prescription. Unfortunately, because the drugs create a euphoric feeling, once prescribed, they are sometimes misused. Many patients receive almost no information about the risks – especially when they have the kind of negligent doctor that is likely to over-prescribe opiates.
Each day 1000 people are treated in an emergency for not using opioid prescriptions as directed.
Opioid deaths are preventable tragedies. If you believe that a loved one died because of an opioid overdose due to the carelessness and negligence of a doctor, pharmaceutical company, or prescription company, contact the Opioid Deaths Lawyers at Aaron M. Levine & Associates law firm today.
According to the CDC, death from drug overdose continues to rise in the United States, and more than 60% of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. The overdose deaths involve men and women of all races and people of a wide age range. The CDC estimates that in 2015 there were 62 deaths per day which involved prescription opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 90 deaths occur daily as a result of addiction to and misuse of all opioids. Of course, much harm has also resulted to those who do not die as a result of their addictions. The CDC estimates that in 2015 two million Americans suffered from prescription-related opioid substance use disorders.
Can Physicians be Held Liable for a loved ones Opioid Death?
Doctors must meet the applicable standard of care when treating patients. This includes prescribing the correct medicines for a patient’s condition, in the right amounts, and for the correct duration of time. The Doctor must consider the psychological status of the patient as to the addictive potential. Failure to meet this standard of care can result in medical malpractice. Thus, if a doctor has made a mistake in prescribing an opioid which harms a patient, the doctor should be held accountable under medical malpractice laws.
Can Pharmacists be Held Liable for Malpractice?
If a pharmacy negligently dispenses an opioid, they too can be held responsible.
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