Archive for January, 2020


What Can I Do After Injury or Overdose Caused by Opioids?

January 21, 2020

If you have an addiction or experienced an injury or overdose caused by opioids, know that you are not alone. The CDC reports, “In 16% of U.S. counties, enough opioid prescriptions were dispensed for every person to have one.” Not only have opioids been used as the “go-to” drug for pain management, drug manufacturers intentionally withheld addiction risks from doctors and patients. The results have been staggering, particularly in Indiana where patients had been prescribed opioid drugs 26% more than the national average. And with well over half of drug overdose deaths arising from opioids, millions of patients and their families are suffering from the crisis. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of prescription opioid use, here are the steps you need to take.

If the Patient Is Alive After an Overdose, Seek Medical Attention Immediately

After learning about the incident, you or someone on the scene should call an ambulance immediately. Overdose injuries often lead to death or brain damage if not treated as soon as possible.

Examine All Prescription Medications

Occasionally, doctors prescribe drugs that are either incompatible or double up on a particularly potent drug or ingredient. If your loved one is taking multiple prescription medications from two or more different prescribing doctors, chances are that active ingredients in the drugs or supplements are reacting negatively. After discovering that a combination of medications harmed a patient, loved ones should consult the patient’s primary care physician immediately to resolve the prescription issue. Additionally, the surviving patient and family members should speak with a medical malpractice attorney to see if the doctors violated any laws in prescribing the medications.

Look for Alternative Pain Management Solutions

While opioids are known to treat pain, the risks far outweigh the benefits. It does no good to be free from pain only to overdose down the road. At the same time, the pain can be so intense that it hardly seems worth living unless the pain can be managed effectively. Thankfully, there are other alternatives to opioid prescriptions. Anyone needing to treat severe pain should always consult their doctor, and doctors can assist patients with alternatives if they express an unwillingness to take opioids.

Here are some of the leading pain management alternatives to opioid prescription medication:

  • Non-opioid Medications (such as aspirin or acetaminophen)
  • Acupuncture
  • Corrective Surgery (if applicable)
  • Biofeedback Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Pain Pumps
  • SCS (spinal cord stimulation)
  • Nerve-blocking Injections
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

While some of the solutions above have worked well, they do not work for everyone. You or your loved one may have to try a couple different options before finding the best solution.

If your doctor recommends a non-opioid drug as an alternative, make sure that the prescription will not conflict with any other medications you are already taking. You should also be wary of the fact that most pain-killing drugs can become an addiction, even if that addiction is less dangerous than opioid addiction.

Talk to a Drug Injury Attorney

The reality is that some doctors are not careful when it comes to prescribing drugs, especially where chronic health conditions and pain are involved. If you believe a doctor was negligent in how they treated you or your loved one, you may be eligible for compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. One should know that when it comes to personal injury claims, such as medical malpractice, there is a 2-year statute of limitations from the time of injury, and exceptions to the 2-year rule are rare. In recent times, it has become more and more apparent that many opioid manufacturers have intentionally withheld information regarding the dangers of opioid use, resulting in a national opioid addiction epidemic. These manufacturers deserve to be brought to justice, and patients and their families deserve compensation for pain and suffering. For more information about how an Indiana drug injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.


My Loved One Was Prescribed Opioids and Became Addicted—Can I Sue?

January 15, 2020

If you have suffered as a result of someone you love becoming addicted to prescription opioid drugs, you and your family may be eligible for compensation. The first thing you should do is discuss your case with a drug injury attorney so they can advise you on the next steps to take.

In the past, doctors have prescribed opioids in an attempt to help their patients manage their pain, but opioid manufacturing companies withheld information that could have highlighted the risk of addiction to doctors and patients.

The Opioid Epidemic in the US

Thankfully, opioid prescriptions have decreased by 30% in the United States since 2012 when over 80% of prescriptions involved opioids in an effort to treat chronic pain. Still, over 1/3 of opioid deaths occur as a result of an addiction that began as an opioid prescription by a doctor. This issue is especially serious for Americans 65 and older as they are often prescribed opioids by their doctors to treat severe chronic pain. Countless patients and their families have been affected by addiction that started out as a prescribed medication. However, doctors and their patients are now better understanding the risks and looking for safer ways to treat chronic pain.

The Fight Against Opioid Use in Indiana

Due to the unique opioid crisis in the state of Indiana, state officials have initiated lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and sellers. The mayor of Indianapolis has spoken out on the topic, saying, “The companies contributing to this [opioid] crisis have failed in their duty to be responsible gatekeepers. These potential defendants spread the false message that opioids were safe for chronic pain and not addictive.” By naming opioid drug manufacturers as “potential defendants,” the mayor indicated that legal action is clearly necessary, both for state lawmakers as well as the patients and families who were affected. Government officials hope to force manufacturers to own their product liability and see fewer opioid addictions and overdoses in the state.

Holding Opioid Manufacturers Accountable

Those being prescribed opioids should talk to their doctor about alternative treatments that are less likely to end in drug addiction and/or overdose. At the same time, drug manufacturers are obligated to properly warn doctors and users of the dangers and possible side effects.

Product manufacturers that allow their products to harm users are liable for injury, both through a failure to warn customers and possible product defects. These charges and more may be made in your opioid addiction case. If you or someone you love has developed an addiction after being prescribed opioid medication, you must speak with a drug injury attorney right away.

Those who file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers could receive compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and damages for pain and suffering. For more information about how a drug injury attorney in Indianapolis can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.