Posted In: Drug Litigation

The opioid epidemic in the United States has had grave consequences on hundreds of millions of individuals and their families. In the last three decades, drug manufacturers of opioid painkillers have misled medical professionals and patients by stating their products possessed no addictive properties. By 2017, widespread reports of opioid addictions and overdose deaths proved this claim to be false, and a public health emergency was initiated to try to combat the negative effects these drugs had caused on so many.

Opioids are a class of medications made up of powerful pain relievers that are generally prescribed to individuals after an injury, surgery, or the diagnosis of health conditions such as cancer. Opioids have been prescribed to treat both cases of moderate and severe pain. Most commonly prescribed in pill form, some opioids (Fentanyl) have also been created into a patch to deliver consistent doses by absorption through the skin.

From 1999 to 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 218,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids. More than 47,600 people died in 2017 alone, a number five times higher than the overdose rate in 1999. Research has shown that prescription opioids- also called synthetic opioids- are the main driver behind drug overdose deaths reported in the United States. The most common types of prescription opioids include:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and naloxone
  • Fetanly (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis)
  • Codeine
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
  • Methadone (Dolphine, Methadose)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Individuals who become addicted to prescription opioids have built a tolerance to the drug’s ability to provide pain relief. Over time, the same dose of opioids is not as effective in managing pain. When this occurs, individuals will often up the dose to achieve results similar to when they first started taking the drug, only to continue to build more tolerance as time passes. It is this harmful characteristic of opioids that has led to the widespread addiction crisis we see today.

Pharmaceutical companies who previously claimed that their opioid painkillers did not possess addictive qualities have led to the destruction of millions upon millions of American lives. Opioid addiction has been linked to known risk factors, including poverty, unemployment, severe depression, anxiety, and increased instances of suicide. Opioid manufacturers have been raking in the profits of their products for decades by misleading healthcare providers into prescribing these known addictive drugs to their patients, and forcing patients and their families to suffer the ultimate costs.

Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Claims

On February 25, 2020, Purdue Pharma- the manufacturer of OxyContin- released an ad campaign announcing a $23.8 million compensation fund to support victims who have been negatively affected or harmed by the use of the company’s prescription opioids. OxyContin is a popular opioid drug that has been linked to the deaths of more than 430,000 people in the last two decades. Its main ingredient, oxycodone, is a powerful opioid that has been a leading factor in the rise of opioid-related addictions and fatalities nationwide; some even say it is the factor leading to the epidemic.

“Opioids” are a class of medication that act upon the neurological system to resolve existent pain. Since these opioid “painkillers” have been on the market for so long, the manufacturers eventually gravitated to a dermal patch—meaning a patch placed upon a user’s skin which provided a newfound avenue for the manufacturers.

The most common prescription opioids that did, or still due, lead to abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo);
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet);
  • Oxycodone and naloxone;
  • Fetanly (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis);
  • Codeine;
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond);
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab Norco, Vicodin);
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER);
  • Methadone (Dolphine, Methadose);
  • Meperidine (Demerol).

Slater Slater Schulman LLP is currently evaluating potential claims by individuals or family members they believe were injured by an opioid drug. The attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP are here to help. Please call our office at 1-800-251-6990, or fill out the form on this page, and our office will contact you to discuss your case.

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