Opioid Dependency — All You Need to Know

opioid dependency

Opioid Dependency in the United States

The crisis with opioid dependency began a couple of decades ago when it was decided that every person had the right to be pain-free. As it was an admirable goal, most healthcare providers responded by prescribing opioids to their patients, believing that it was ‘safe’. Eventually, it became clear that trying to eradicate pain aggressively was turning out to be dangerous. Misuse and overuse of opioids, namely fentanyl, heroin, and painkillers, often lead to an unprecedented health crisis.

Opioid overdoses cause respiratory arrest, which may also lead to fatality. Seeing the increased number of deaths, a coalition of 21 Alabama hospitals filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of opioid drugs, including Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Purdue Pharma.  Let’s take a closer look at what opioid dependency is all about.

Opioids are often used to relieve pain. They are also consumed to change how your brain responds to pain. Doctors often prescribe opioids to relieve pain from:

  • Surgeries
  • Injuries
  • Toothaches
  • Chronic conditions such as cancer

Types of Opioid Drugs

opioid prescription
  • Opium
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Paregoric
  • Oxymorphone
  • Paregoric
  • Sufentanil
  • Tramadol

How Does Opioid Dependency Happen

There are multiple situations when opioids may lead to dependency. In some cases, the patient gets dependent while in others, someone other than the patient misuses the opioids. Prescription opioid dependency may occur when:

  • Someone misuses the opioid when it’s not meant for them
  • The patient does not follow the instructions
  • Multiple healthcare providers prescribe opioids to the same patient

Signs of Opioid Overdose

  • Slurred speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Itchy skin
  • Clammy skin
  • Blue lips and nails
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Opioid misuse and dependency are serious public health problems in the United States. The primary treatment for prescription opioid dependence is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The process includes counseling, medicines, and support from loved ones.

Determining Liability in Opioid Dependency and Overdoes

When there’s opioid dependency or overdose, it’s usually easy to put the blame on victims, assuming that they are addicts. However, determining liability in opioid dependency is intricate, mainly because opioids are legal drugs that are prescribed to patients by healthcare professionals whom they trust. According to victims, medical professionals and pharmacists need to exercise discretion and commit to treat patients with high duty of care.

If there’s any physical injury or fatality due to opioid dependency, our injury attorneys in Montgomery, AL at the Law Offices of Manley Traeger help to file medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals.

On the other hand, medical professionals and hospitals can also file lawsuits against the manufacturers of the drugs for using deceptive marketing tactics.

If you have a valid case and you’ve been looking for favorable compensation, our competent legal representatives are here to help. We work with a team of clerks, assistants, and paralegals to thoroughly investigate your case and procure maximum reimbursement.

For further queries, call us at 334-777-6226