The Opioid Crisis by the Numbers
Dolman Law Group is more than familiar with how medical products like prescription drugs can end up causing severe damage to patients. Our firm specializes in holding negligent pharmaceutical companies and doctors accountable through litigation for clients whose trust was betrayed. Perhaps the most damaging of all the prescription drugs that Dolman Law see’s in cases where patients are injured by their medicine is opioids. The opioid crisis has caused widespread suffering and damage to people not just in Florida but across the entire country. Those that have suffered because of the addiction and overdoses prescription opioids cause may potentially be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit. The figures and statistics regarding opioid prescription overdoses, addiction, deaths, etc. are truly terrifying and are indicative of how dangerous these drugs are.
How Many People are Harmed by Prescription Opioids?
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 232,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids from 1999 to 2018. In 2018, the rate of death due to prescription opioid overdose was four times the rate in 1999. The rate of death due to opioid prescription overdose in 2018 was around 44 people every single day for a total of 15,000 deaths. These statistics only count death due to prescription opioid death. Many more people died because of overdoses caused by illegal opioids such as heroin and fentanyl that bring the number of deaths caused by opioids in general to 47,600 in 2018 with around 100 people dying every single day because of this kind of drug..
These statistics concern the entire country of which there are several states that are major epicenters of the opioid crisis. Generally, the opioid crisis has been felt in some degree by every state in the country, Florida included. However, the worst of the prescription opioid abuse has occurred in the northeast with the most affected states including West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Delaware, and Connecticut at least in terms of deaths caused by prescription opioid abuse.
Florida Opioid Deaths
Florida may not be one of the largest contributors towards the opioid crisis but it is here all the same causing deaths and fracturing communities. In 2018, 3,189 people died in Florida because of opioid-related overdoses. This is out of the 4,698 overdose deaths in general caused by opioids and other drugs with opioid-related overdose deaths making up 68% of the total.
Addiction Caused by Prescription Opioids
Opioids have been around for a long time in some form or another but it was in the early 1990s that several pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue introduced and marketed prescription opioids such as Oxycontin to doctors to be used in pain management. The major problem was that these prescription opioids are incredibly addictive but the pharmaceutical companies were misleading in the marketing of their opioid drugs. As a result, many patients were prescribed very addictive drugs by doctors that did not have a plan to manage dosages to reduce addiction risk. As many as one in four people that take prescription opioids develop an addiction to them. More than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in 2016.
Why Does Prescription Opioid Addiction Occur?
Opioids primarily are used as painkillers due to their pain-numbing and relaxing effects achieved by binding to opioids receptors and releasing large amounts of dopamine. This not only stops pain but it induces a sense of euphoria and high that patients taking the prescription can become dependent on. Taking prescription opioids does not mean that you will automatically develop an opioid addiction but it does mean you will be at very high risk to develop an addiction.
Prescription opioids can be taken safely with the assistance of a doctor that is mindful of the dosage and frequency of the medication they prescribe as well as any other factors that can affect the chances of addiction developing. The problem is that there are many cases where a doctor or other medical professional fails to take proper care of their patients and they end up suffering from prescription opioid addiction.
Prescription Opioid Medical Malpractice
When a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient it may be considered medical malpractice. This does not mean that when a doctor makes a human error that they didn’t have the foresight to avoid that they committed malpractice. Medical malpractice is based on negligence which requires the medical professional to violate the standard of care expected of them despite being aware of the proper procedure they should have followed.
In the case of prescription opioids, doctors can commit medical malpractice when their patients develop an addiction due to the doctor’s failure to follow basic procedures when prescribing a drug that is well-known to be extremely addictive. For example, doctors can cause opioid addiction by:
- Giving too high of a dosage
- Not monitoring the patient
- Failing to check a patient’s medical history for addiction risk factors
- Giving too frequent of a dosage
- Prescribing opioids for only mild pain
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 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 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.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(833) 606-DRUG