Monday, July 18, 2016

Your Loved Ones Overdose Could Be the Result of Medical Malpractice

In 2015, Kentucky set a record for the number of people who died of a drug overdose. According to a report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, 1,248 people died by overdosing last year, but that number could increase as additional toxicology reports become available in pending cases.

Our current addiction crisis is something nobody predicted. While we focused on fighting the use and abuse of street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, a new and powerful drug was hiding in plain sight. You see, many of today’s drug addicts got their start taking prescription pain killers, often with the blessing of their doctor.

Abuse of prescription medication exploded in Kentucky in the 1990s. The drug of choice for many abusers, OxyContin, has fallen out of favor since it was reformulated after its manufacturer was sued for making false claims about its potential to cause addiction, but other prescription drugs quickly replaced it.

The drug control report mentioned above found that the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, sold as Xanax, was detected in 28 percent of 2015 overdoses, while the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone were detected in 23 and 21 percent of overdoses, respectively.

The drug found responsible in the most 2015 overdoses by far was Fentanyl. The drug, which also killed the pop star Prince earlier this year, was responsible for a full 34 percent of all overdose deaths in Kentucky last year.

Although Fentanyl is a prescription drug, it is also being substituted by drug dealers for heroin (the street drug of choice for prescription pain killer abusers once pills become too expensive or too difficult for them to get) because it is easier to manufacture, and is about 40-50 times more powerful than heroin. This means drug dealers can buy it cheaper than heroin, and sell less of it, to make more money. But Fentanyl is not yet as well-known as heroin, so sellers are selling Fentanyl as heroin, and heroin users are overdosing because they don’t know they are getting something so much stronger.

It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love struggle with addiction, and seeing them lose the battle against their demons is crushing. One of the ways to honor your loved one’s life, and fight back against the health system that failed them, is to file a malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit against the doctors that were supplying them with their poison.

A growing number of such lawsuits are being filed against doctors and other medical professionals that should have recognized the signs of abuse. Those that handed out pills like candy, with little thought to what the repercussions would be. (We are also seeing a growing number of criminal cases being brought against such doctors.)

If you would like to speak with someone about the possibility of filing such a lawsuit, please contact our office today. Your actions could be what saves someone else’s loved one from the horrible fate that befell your own loved one.