How Serious Is the Opioid Crisis in Kansas?
According to the Kansas Health Institute, over 100 Kansans have died every year since 2012 due to opioid overdose and addiction. Since Purdue Pharma began manufacturing and selling OxyContin domestically in the 1990s, its use in the United States has skyrocketed. Despite its former status as a “wonder drug,” it has had powerful, devastating repercussions for thousands of people, many of whom had never struggled with addiction or substance abuse until receiving an opioid prescription from their doctor.
While heroin and other synthetic opioids are widely used and certainly play a part in the opioid crisis, the epidemic of prescription opioid addiction is uniquely sinister in that it often begins in a doctor’s office. However, despite their seemingly innocent beginnings, prescription opioid addictions have done comparable damage to heroin and the amount of prescription opioid-related deaths has more than quadrupled in the last 17 years.
Who Is Affected by the Kansas Opioid Crisis?
“To say that the epidemic is disproportionately white is an understatement. It’s really striking how white the epidemic is,” according to Andrew Kolodny, M.D., of Brandeis University. The segment of the Kansan population that is most heavily affected by the prescription opioid epidemic is white males, ages 35 – 54. However, anyone of any status, ethnicity, or age can be affected if they are improperly prescribed potentially harmful pain medications.
What Role Do Doctors Play in the Opioid Crisis?
Many doctors have had a direct hand in stoking the flames of the growing opioid epidemic. By accepting kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, doctors make money when they prescribe opioid pain medications. This means that doctors are prescribing pain medications that people do not need or prescribing more than necessary, which puts recipients at immediate risk of developing serious addiction and suffering serious health consequences. Historically, over 90% of people who have died due to an opioid overdose were prescribed opioids to treat chronic pain.
What to Do In Cases of Fatal Prescription Opioid Overdose
If you or a loved one has suffered, overdosed, or died due to a prescription opioid pain medication-related problem or addiction, there are multiple paths toward justice. If your doctor is found guilty of receiving kickbacks or other illicit benefits from pharmaceutical companies in exchange for writing opioid prescriptions, you could sue your doctor for medical malpractice. If your loved one has died due to an opioid addiction that began with a prescription, you may be able to sue a doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical company, or other involved party for wrongful death, assuming that the death in question was directly caused by any of the above. In some cases, you may even be able to file a class action lawsuit against an opioid supplier if they are found to be deliberate participants in the spread of addiction, disease, and destruction of lives.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Wichita
If you or a loved has suffered from an opioid-related issue, don’t wait to get in touch with someone who can help. At the Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC, our team of Wichita medical malpractice attorneys is prepared to help you work toward righting the wrongs committed against you by your doctor (and the pharmaceutical industry, if applicable). Whether your case requires a class action, medical malpractice, or wrongful death suit, we are here to serve you in resolving your case and pursuing proper compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Call today at (316) 688-1166or send us an email to schedule your complimentary consultation.