Life expectancy in the United States fell in 2016, fed by a wave of fatal narcotic overdoses. Right now, the US is dealing with the worst drug crisis on the record because of people’s addiction to opioids.
The pharmaceutical business, healthcare providers, lobbyists and drug distributors allowed the opioid crisis to flourish after supplying hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain hospitals over the last two decades; this careless act destroyed many lives.
How Bad Is It?
Two million Americans have an opioid use disorder, and opioid overdoses are the driving cause of death for Americans under fifty years old—killing 64,000 lives in 2016 alone. That’s more deaths than gun shootings and car accidents combined.
Overdoses from synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, have also risen five-hundred percent in just three years.
Opium (Heroin) vs. Fentanyl
Painkillers like morphine contain opium, a narcotic taken from poppy plants; synthetic drugs that perform identical to opium also exist.
Here, its chemistry, not agriculture, that generates the methadone and fentanyl opioids found in Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin painkillers.
Doctors legitimately use opioid treatment for surgical anesthesia and prescribe it to manage pain; however, street fentanyl comes from overseas drug trafficking, originating from countries like China and Mexico.
The Swap From Legal to Illegal Use
The opioid crisis stemmed from doctors over-prescribing narcotic medication in the 90s. As opioid addiction awareness kicked in at the turn of the century, drug abuse from prescription opioids fell.
That’s when heroin and fentanyl drug addiction hit the nation like a train wreck; opioid epidemic victims switched from legal painkillers to illicit fentanyl after physicians refused to hand out prescription refills.
Who Is Responsible?
Recent class action lawsuits accuse pharmaceutical companies and doctors of inciting the opioid crisis, but some complaints name insurance companies as litigants because the industry made it real easy for sick people to get their hands on opioids.
When drug makers aggressively marketed OxyContin and Vicodin, the corporations declared the medicine eliminated pain with no side effects; history has revealed that this statement was deceitfully untrue.
Pharmacies worked hard to supply new prescriptions during the opioid surge; and drug distribution networks, a.k.a pill mills, appeared on many suburban street corners to satisfy consumer demand.
Anon, everyday people became addicted to their medicine. Heroin and illicit fentanyl abuse likewise exited poor urban streets and jumped into Middle America where drug traffickers found folks primed and ready for opioid drug abuse.
Attacking the Epidemic in Courtrooms
Attorneys are establishing a solid legal presence in the nation’s opioid crisis by tackling the big corporations and healthcare providers responsible for hooking folks on painkillers. The drug industry has already paid victims billions of dollars in class action settlements.
These lawsuits accuse companies of creating a public nuisance to national health and safety and engaging in deceit by placing addictive narcotics into the stream of commerce.
McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens are among the many pharmaceutical dealers finding themselves in court these days responding to complaints.