Opioid Addiction Epidemic Continues to Cause Collateral Damage

Premature newborn baby girl in the hospital incubator after c-section in 33 weekPerhaps the greatest tragedy of the nation’s current opioid crisis is that prescription painkiller addiction harms not only the individuals who have become physically dependent upon those drugs, but also their families whose lives have been upended by opioid overdoses and deaths.

The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is working tirelessly to recover monetary compensation for the most vulnerable victims of the opioid crisis: babies born addicted to the painkillers.

Scope and Origins of the Opioid Overdose Crisis

In the late 1990’s, the big pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Allergan, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, launched aggressive marketing campaigns that touted the benefits of opioid painkillers while downplaying or ignoring known addiction risks. In turn, physicians began to freely prescribe both natural and synthetic opioids, including Percocet, Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone with few or no warnings to their patients of any addiction or overdose risks.

The consequences of these practices have been staggering:

  • Almost a third of all patients that have received opioid prescriptions have misused those drugs, and roughly 10% have developed addictions or other opioid use disorders.
  • About 5% of prescription opioid recipients have started using heroin.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, opioid overdoses increased by 30%.
  • On average, 115 people in the United States die every day as a result of an opioid overdose.

Collateral Damage from the Opioid Overdose Crisis

Immediate family members frequently experience adverse collateral effects of a loved one’s opioid addiction. The most tragic effects of that addiction affect family members that are least able to handle the ravages of addiction, namely, unborn children and babies.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported a fivefold increase in incidents of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) between 2000 and 2012. NAS afflicts infants that have been exposed to opioids during their mothers’ pregnancies. Infants that are born with NAS will experience tremors, gastric disorders, fevers, and seizures during the first few weeks or months after they are born. These symptoms are similar to what an opioid addict might experience while going through withdrawal.

Recovering Compensation for Opioid Overdoses and Deaths

Lawmakers are acknowledging that certain opioid manufacturers, medical clinics, and practitioners developed and implemented a deceptive marketing scheme that exaggerated the relief that opioids could offer to individuals who were suffering from debilitating pain. The marketing of opioid painkillers gave little thought to the physical dependency, addiction, and overdose risks that are inherent in those drugs. Following the lawmakers’ lead, court systems are entertaining a growing chorus of lawsuits alleging that pharmaceutical companies are liable for direct and collateral damages as a result of their false, negligent, and unfair marketing practices associated with prescription opioid drugs.

Was Your Child Born Addicted to Opioids? Call Bart Bernard

Bart Bernard represents families in Lafayette, Kenner, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere in Louisiana with infants diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome due to opioid addiction. Has your infant child become a victim of the opioid crisis? Please call today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Additional Opioid Epidemic Resources:

  1. DrugAbuse.gov, Opioid Overdose Crisis. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
  2. Democrat & Chronicle, May is deadliest month so far: 31 days, 104 overdoses, 16 deaths, https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2018/06/08/monroe-county-overdose-deaths-may-2018-year-total/685418002/
  3. CBSNews.com, Opioid addiction in U.S.: 7 in 10 say it’s a very serious problem – CBS News poll, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-addiction-in-u-s-7-in-10-say-its-a-very-serious-problem-cbs-news-poll/
  4. DrugAbuse.gov, Treating Opioid Use Disorder During Pregnancy. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/treating-opioid-use-disorder-during-pregnancy/treating-opioid-use-disorder-during-pregnancy



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