Why do Doctors Prescribe Potentially Addictive Opioids?

May 27, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Why do Doctors Prescribe Potentially Addictive Opioids?

Reasons Why Florida Doctors Prescribe Opioids

The opioid crisis has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of Americans dying of overdoses with an average of a hundred people dying every day because of abuse of opioids. The primary cause of this widespread suffering is the negligent manufacture and distribution of opioid prescription drugs that came with a much higher risk of addiction than pharmaceutical companies let on.  The greed of these pharmaceutical companies like McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Endo International, Teva Pharmaceutical, Allergan (formerly Actavis), Watson Pharmaceuticals, Covidien, and Johnson & Johnson has led to them being named in a number of lawsuits over the damage their prescription opioids have caused. However, the doctors that end up prescribing these drugs can be overlooked despite the fact that they can be considered responsible for damaging opioid addiction in many cases. 

Opioid Prescription Uses

While it is true that opioids have the potential to cause severe addiction and risk of an overdose there is a reason that these drugs are still used in limited capacities to this date. Opioid prescription drugs are very successful in their ability to relieve pain and relax those coping with very uncomfortable recovery or chronic pain. This is no surprise considering how opioids are in the same class of drugs as heroin.  Opioid prescriptions can be very dangerous but to be fair, many prescription drugs have the potential to cause a significant amount of damage. After all, the line separating medicine from poison is very thin with a slight difference in dosage making all the difference. Opioid prescriptions are still in use today because they can theoretically be used in a way so that a patient does not develop an addiction. Just because someone is prescribed an opioid, it does not mean they will become addicted but instead means they will be at risk for addiction. This risk can be minimized by having a doctor carefully monitor their patient and maintain strict control over the amount of opioids they take. It is when doctors fail to take proper care of their patients that problems like addiction can arise. 

Florida Opioid Prescription Reduction

In light of the damage caused by the opioid epidemic that had been raging throughout Florida and the rest of the country for years, Florida passed House Bill 21 (HB21) in 2018 which limits the days' supply of Schedule II opioids to 3 days for acute pain prescriptions. Prescribers of prescription opioids can extend to a 7-day supply if they document an exception. These restrictions do not apply to patients suffering pain from:
  • Cancer
  • Terminal illness
  • Symptoms related an incurable, progressive illness or injury 
  • Palliative care
  • Serious traumatic injuries
These efforts further attempt to stem the flow of constant deaths attributed to opioid prescription abuse. Unfortunately, there is only so much that can be done to curb the number of people that develop addictions to opioids through their prescriptions. Many people end up switching from prescriptions altogether and start abusing opioids such as heroin. 

How Doctor's Can Cause Opioid Addiction 

Medical professionals are expected to provide care that will not end up harming their patients yet thousands of people end up suffering injuries because of questionable decisions made by those providing them medical care. Prescription opioid addiction often occurs because of a doctor's failure to provide medical treatment that is up to the expected standard of care. In cases where medical providers harm their patients not only because of questionable healthcare decisions but also out of a disregard of the established procedure expected of them then, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. Doctors and similar medical professionals that prescribe opioid medications can cause addiction when they:
  • Failing to monitor a patient's state while prescribed an opioid medication
  • Giving a patient an improper dosage of opioids
  • Ignoring a patient's medical history of addiction
  • Simply acting as a prescription mill

Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

When a doctor fails to provide treatment that is up to the standard of care by neglecting to adhere to the proper procedure then they might be considered guilty of medical malpractice. The standard of care is the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice.  Doctors that have failed in their duty to provide adequate care because of medical malpractice can be sued for the damages that they have caused. Those that neglect patients and cause them to undergo the pain of prescription opioid addiction are often responsible for severe damages in the form of extensive medical bills, loss of companionship/consortium, lost wages, lost earning potential, as well as pain and suffering. Filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit can help ensure that you receive the compensation that you need and that those responsible for your suffering are held accountable for their actions. Consider speaking to a personal injury attorney today about taking legal action after against those that have caused your or a loved one's opioid addiction. 

Seek an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or someone you know has been harmed by the prescription of opioid medication then don't hesitate to contact the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of opioid addiction. A medical malpractice claim or lawsuit can provide you with the opportunity to hold those that caused your injuries accountable for their negligent actions.  The experienced lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will assist you in holding the parties responsible for the damages done to you or your loved ones accountable. Our lawyers will fight for your right for compensation and be aggressive in ensuring that you get a settlement that you are comfortable with. To contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA either call our Clearwater office at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/medical-malpractice-lawyer/florida/


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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