Medical Malpractice Claims Over Opioid Abuse Continue to Rise
*This article was first published June 6th, 2018. Certain details have been updated to reflect new statistics and information.
Over the past few decades, opioid use has skyrocketed in the U.S. We use 80% of the world’s prescribed opioids, yet make up less than 5% of the world’s population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly 130 people die in the U.S. every day from opioid overdoses.
The opioid crisis has led to an increase in medical malpractice claims involving opioid prescriptions. In fact, opioids are the subject of 24% of medical malpractice claims involving prescription medications, according to data from Coverys.
The Dangers of Opioids
The active ingredient in opioids is opium—the same addictive substance found in heroin. Thus, these drugs are addictive by nature. After repeated uses, the body begins to build up a tolerance to opioids, and a higher quantity of drugs is needed for the patient to experience the same effects.
Opioid users are also at risk for overdosing. Opioids slow the region of the brain that controls breathing. Taking too many can result in respiratory depression, which can be fatal.
How Can Opioid Prescription be Malpractice?
As the opioid crisis continues to worsen, medical malpractice claims regarding opioid prescriptions have become more common. In some cases, a patient might have a claim against a doctor or medical facility for improper administration of opioids. A study by the ECRI Institute found that 35% of adverse events involving opioids occurred because of improper administration during hospital stays. Combined with the fact that nearly 70% of those who have previously reported abusing opioids also claim a past drug problem with substances such as cocaine and various methamphetamine drugs, it is easy to see why so many advocates for opioid reform consider the application of these drugs to be reckless and, at times, negligent.
Improperly prescribing opioids could also be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. This might be the case if a doctor continues to prescribe opioids to a patient who no longer requires them more medical reasons. Failing to properly monitor patients after prescribing them opioids could also be considered negligent.
If you believe a doctor or healthcare facility was negligent in prescribing or administering opioids, and that negligence directly contributed to an injury, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Seek the help of a personal injury attorney to learn what options you might have.
“Medical malpractice claims can be quite complex, so it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured by a drug and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.