The opioid overdose crisis affects practically every family in the United States even if they don’t see it touching their lives. In fact, while life expectancy has continued to follow an overall increase in the United States, the last two years have shown a decline that is directly related to opioid dependency. According to the CDC, throughout a ten year period (2006 – 2016), most states saw opioid prescription rates of more than 100 for every 100 people that reside there. In 2012, more than 255 million prescriptions were given out.
Many States Declare the Opioid Overdose Crisis as an Emergency
During 2017, the governors of Alaska, Arizona, Florida, and Maryland declared a state of emergency over opioid overdoses. While a lot of attention was given to the opioid overdose crisis during that time, those states weren’t the first states to declare a state of emergency. Massachusetts called it a state of emergency in 2014. Virginia followed suit in 2016.
Every state has a right to be concerned over how this crisis is affecting its citizens. The CDC stated in 2017 that 91 Americans die each day due to an opioid overdose. Think about this: you now know that around 100 opioid prescriptions are given to every 100 people. Now consider how many people die each day.
States and Individuals Sue Drug Manufacturers
Currently, there are close to 200 pending lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and companies that marketed them. Those lawsuits are filed by governing bodies for states, cities, and even towns. The lawsuits ask for the pharmaceutical and drug marketing companies to be held accountable for the opioid overdose crisis. The plaintiffs asked the federal courts to order the companies to pay for things such as drug treatment and the costs incurred by the states, cities, and towns for medical care and homelessness. One judge who oversees several of the federal lawsuits urged the parties involved to start the settlement process.
Prescription Opioids Often Cause Addiction to Street Drugs
Opioids were prescribed in high numbers because doctors relied on information provided to them by the drug companies that told them opioids had a very low risk of dependence. Sadly, we’ve learned as a nation that the information that was given wasn’t true. In a survey conducted by NIH, those who abuse prescription opioids have a 19% higher risk of becoming heroin addicts than those who do not abuse opioids. Additionally, 86% of heroin users stated that they were first hooked on opioids; 75% began with opioids that they received because of a medical reason.
Will Drug Manufacturers Be Held Responsible by the Court System?
Will drug manufacturers and marketers be held responsible for the opioid overdose crisis? Only time will tell. However, it’s good that states, cities, and towns have recognized the seriousness of this epidemic. Many first responders now have access to NARCAN to help stop people from dying from overdoses. Yet, while NARCAN and treatment centers are available, hopefully, the court system will hold the drug manufacturers accountable.
Was Your Family Affected by the Opioid Overdose Crisis?
If your family was affected by the opioid overdose crisis, you may have the right to compensation. To learn more and to have your potential claim evaluated, contact Goldwater Law Firm to schedule your free consultation.