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Opioid Injury FAQs

Chicago Prescription Drug Injury Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Opioids

In the United States, Opioid drugs have been widely used for both legitimate medical treatment and illegal purposes for multiple decades. Because these drugs are so addictive, they are likely to lead to abuse even if a person begins to use them after receiving a prescription from a medical professional. Users of opioids may suffer multiple types of injuries that can affect their overall health and well-being, and continued use of these drugs may lead to overdoses and wrongful death. People who have suffered harm or family members who have lost a loved one because of these drugs will want to determine their legal options for pursuing compensation. Our firm is here to answer any questions you may have about these cases.

What Types of Opioid Drugs Are Available?

Prescription drugs that contain opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone (sold under brand names such as Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, and Zohydro)
  • Oxycodone (sold under brand names such as OxyContin, Tylox, Percocet, and Percodan)
  • Oxymorphone (sold under the brand name Opana)
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Hydromorphone (sold under brand names such as Dilaudid, Exalgo, and Palladone)
  • Meperidine (sold under brand names such as Demerol and Mepergan)

In addition to drugs that may be prescribed by medical professionals and used by patients to treat pain management, there are multiple illegal drugs that contain opioids. These include heroin, fentanyl, and opium.

How Common Is Opioid Use?

The use of opioids has increased significantly in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 190 million prescriptions for opioids are issued each year. Improper use of these drugs is an ongoing and increasing concern. More than 11 million people have reported misuse of opioids, and around 25 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids on a long-term basis struggle with addiction. Around 50,000 people die each year from opioid overdoses, and opioids account for around 70 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the United States.

When Can Prescribing Opioids Be Considered Medical Malpractice?

Because of the risks associated with opioids, doctors should take care when prescribing these medications. They should advise patients of the side effects they may experience, the risks of addiction and withdrawal, and the harmful interactions that may occur if a person combines opioids with other substances such as alcohol, prescription medications such as Xanax or Valium, or illegal drugs and controlled substances. Doctors should also work with patients to explore other treatment options that may be available to treat chronic pain or other conditions.

Doctors may commit medical malpractice if they do not take care to protect patients' health and safety when prescribing opioids. Medical malpractice involves a deviation from the standards that are followed by reasonable medical providers, and it may take multiple forms. These may include prescribing opioids without considering how they will affect a patient's reported health conditions, issuing prescriptions for higher doses than are safe, prescribing opioids for patients who have a history of addictions or other harmful behavior, failing to consider interactions between opioids and other medications, or failing to monitor patients' use of opioids and help them determine how to stop using drugs that may be having a negative effect on their health.

Contact an Illinois Prescription Opioid Malpractice Lawyer

If your family has been affected by opioid use, you will want to determine your options for seeking compensation. Our firm can advise you on whether you may be able to pursue a malpractice claim against a medical provider who failed to follow the proper safety practices, or we can determine whether you may be able to take legal action against the manufacturer of dangerous prescription opioids. Contact our office today at 866-553-9812 to arrange a free consultation.

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