Opioids are extremely addictive and dangerous painkilling medications. Every year, tens of thousands of people die from accidental opioid overdoses, and many others become addicted and lose their jobs, families, and finances.
Opioid Overdose Lawsuit Filed in Ohio
In December 2017, an opioid overdose lawsuit was filed against University Hospitals Health System after the death of a man who accidentally overdosed on hydrocodone and Xanax. According to the lawsuit:
“[Defendants] have contributed to the epidemic of overprescribing, dispensing and use of narcotics and controlled substances with deadly consequences. … Between 2007 and 2017, at least nine University Hospitals patients have died from opiate narcotic overdoses.”
How Many People Overdose on Opioids?
In 2016, opioids were involved in over 42,000 overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths caused by opioids has increased so much that the average life expectancy for Americans has actually decreased.
Over 200+ Opioid Lawsuits Centralized in Ohio
The crisis has led to over 200 lawsuits and class actions from states, cities, and individuals nationwide. Purdue Pharma is accused of downplaying risks.
Judge Urges Quick Settlements in Opioid Lawsuits
Hundreds of opioid overdose lawsuits are overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster, a federal judge in Ohio. He is urging Purdue Pharma and other drug-makers to agree to quick settlements. Drug-makers are accused of downplaying the risks of treating pain with opioids, and failing to monitor suspicious orders.
What is an Opioid?
Opioids are narcotic painkillers and cough-suppressant medications. They are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of moderate-to-severe pain, coughing, and diarrhea. Examples of opioid medications include:
Where Do Opioids Come From?
Opioids come from a plant — the opium poppy, Papaver soniferum. Humans have been growing the opium poppy for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Opioids like heroin and morphine are manufactured with chemical processing of opium.
Why Are Opioids Addictive?
Anyone who uses opioids continuously for more than a few days will begin to develop a tolerance, which means they need more opioids to achieve the same effects. The brain stops making its own “feel-good” chemicals like endorphins, and starts relying on opioids to function.
What is the Problem?
Over time, the brain is actually damaged from continuous opioid use. Unless the person takes a higher dose, they experience withdrawal. This can quickly spiral out of control, leading to addiction or overdose.
What is Opioid Withdrawal?
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are typically the opposite of what a person experiences when they are taking codeine. Examples include irritability, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, sweating, shivering, muscle aches, and rapid heartbeat. These symptoms can be so severe that a person is unable to stop taking opioids without professional help.
What is an Overdose?
Overdosing is one of the most dangerous side effects of opioids. It becomes far more likely when a person is taking multiple medications that contain opioids, mixing opioids with alcohol, or taking multiple prescription medications that depress the central nervous system.
Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose
- Blood pressure drops
- Mental confusion
- Extreme sleepiness
- Lethargy or sedation
- Skin feels cold and clammy
- Pupils of the eyes are pinpoints
- Breathing slows or stops
Opioid Addiction Treatment
People who are addicted to opioids are unable to quit without professional help. They require treatment in a facility with experts who specialize in managing the symptoms of withdrawal and rehabilitating the brain. Without treatment, opioid addiction is often deadly. The devastating effects of opioid addiction may include job loss, family loss, financial loss, and more. Opioids can destroy a person’s life.