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)
- 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.