Overview of the Opioid Crisis

Overview of the Opioid Crisis

Opioid addiction is now the leading cause of death in the United States for individuals under the age of 50. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of opioid prescriptions has increased by nearly 500% percent in the past 2 decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the sale of prescription opioids quadrupled between 1999 and 2014. Opioid addiction has become a huge problem in our nation, leading to thousands of deaths by overdose each year, and even more victims of addiction. Further, most heroin users began by taking prescription opioids

The Start of the Opioid Epidemic

Opioids are medications that were initially intended as painkillers. They are only available legally through a doctor’s prescription. Some common prescription opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and codeine, while the most common illegal opioid is heroin. Beginning in the 1990’s, pharmaceutical companies began a campaign of false and deceptive marketing, hiding and mischaracterizing the harmful and addictive nature of these dangerous drugs. This campaign led to an explosion of overprescription, resulting in the present opioid epidemic that has swept the nation.

While opioids can be extremely effective in preventing pain after surgery, for serious injuries, or to comfort cancer patients, they are highly addictive by nature. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids misuse them. As a result, the death rates for opioid overdose has risen along with the rate of overprescription..

Understanding the Scale & Scope

The New York Times has called the current opioid crisis “the deadliest drug crisis in American History.” An estimated 64,000 people died in 2016 from opioid addiction, which was more than those killed in car accidents or gun crimes. The addictive nature of these powerful painkillers has led to a public health crisis. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that approximately 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids in 2016, and a staggering 42,249 individuals died from an opioid drug overdose. This epidemic is doing more than taking lives and causing personal tragedies, it is also damaging the national economy. In 2016, the opioid crisis cost 504 billion dollars, according to data collected by Council of Economic Advisors.

Unfortunately, studies show that these numbers have continued to rise. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Midwestern region of the United States saw a 70% increase in opioid overdoses from July 2016 to September 2017.

The Role of Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies

Blame for the opioid crisis falls on drug manufacturers and distributors who create these dangerous drugs and failed to accurately advertise their addictive nature..

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that there has been no substantial proof that the use of opioids solves chronic pain, suggesting instead that it should only be used on a short-term basis. Statistics show that nearly 40% of all opioid drug overdoses involve prescription opioids, which goes to show that not all prescriptions are safe.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 3 in every 4 heroin users first began taking prescription opioids. In numerous lawsuits, plaintiffs have alleged that pharmaceutical companies knowingly hid the addictive nature of opioids, used aggressive marketing tactics, and offered financial gains for doctors prescribing opioids.

Some of the pharmaceutical companies and medical businesses facing lawsuits are:

  • Purdue Pharmaceuticals
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Cephalon
  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owned by Johnson & Johnson
  • McKesson Corporation
  • CVS Pharmacies
  • Cardinal Health
  • AmerisourceBergen Corp.

Our Firm Is Now Accepting Opioid Wrongful Death Cases Nationally

Opioid addiction can be physically harmful, emotionally damaging, and financially devastating. Our firm is passionate about defending the rights of the injured, and we want to help the victims of opioid addiction and their families. Whether you suffered an addiction or lost a loved one because of another’s actions, we want to hear your case. Our Houston civil litigation attorneys are currently accepting opioid cases nationally. If you believe you have a case, let our firm meet with you to discuss your legal options, today.

Contact Law Offices of Mark A. Correro to get started on your opioid wrongful death case.

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