Unforeseen Opioid Addiction: Is There a Case?

December 13, 2018 @ 11:17 am

opioid addiction and personal injury blog photo

Your addiction may not be your fault. When people experience health problems, they rely on physicians to solve them. The expectation is that an examination will result in an accurate diagnosis and a solution, which is often a prescription. Again, the expectation is that the drug prescribed will resolve or improve the issue — not create a new, even more dangerous one.

However, drug companies and doctors sometimes fail to explain to patients the risks associated with the opioid medications they prescribe. As a result, patients and their families face the guilt, physical damages and financial difficulties of addiction through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, few of these victims realize that the physician who prescribed the medication may be held liable for damages under the law.

How can patients addicted to opioids sue for opioid addiction?

The sheer scope of ill-advised opioid prescriptions have left such widespread, lasting devastation in their wake that individuals, groups and even local and state governments are filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers, and in some cases, against the physicians prescribing them irresponsibly.

Addicted Children. In Louisiana, for example, a class action suit is addressing the issue of some special needs children born to mothers addicted to opioids, and it’s going after major pharmaceutical manufacturers to do it.

The lawsuit states that many of these children suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which encompasses drug withdrawal as well as long-term cognitive, behavioral and physical challenges associated with prenatal exposure to opioids.

This problem is not unique to Louisiana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal.

Addicted Adults. Of all the states, West Virginia has had the highest opioid overdose rate and has been a focal point for dozens of lawsuits that have included doctors as well as pharmacists and drug wholesalers.

  • McDowell County sued three pharmaceutical wholesalers for the “substantial funds” the county has had to invest in dealing with the “illegal, reckless and malicious actions” of drug companies. The county continues to pursue millions of dollars in compensation from numerous companies charged with “flooding the state with highly addictive prescription medications without regard for the adverse consequences to McDowell County or its residents.”
  • Another, exceptionally high-profile case in West Virginia has raised the question of whether individuals who “admittedly had engaged in criminal behavior to obtain and use drugs had the right to sue.” So far, the answer has been a resounding yes due to the extent of collusion evident among prescribing physicians, pharmacists, drug distributors and manufacturers and other elements of the medical opioid industry.

The takeaway from these cases is that, if an ill-informed prescription resulted in addiction, the medical community can be liable for extensive damages, injuries and losses.

Get Fair Compensation

Many states are choosing to hold the pharmaceutical industry and/or prescribing physicians accountable, and depending upon the facts of your case, you may have legal rights against one or more of these groups. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to prescription medicine, reach out to the attorneys of Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik.

Contact us through our website, or call us at 1-800-356-6776 to schedule your free consultation. Our doors are always open to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.

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