Our painkiller drug overdose lawyers understand these are delicate situations and do our best to treat clients with dignity and respect as they cope with the loss of a loved one from a drug overdose. Our team will help you investigate the circumstances of your family member’s passing and help hold drug makers, pharmacists, and doctors responsible for recklessly prescribing and marketing these powerful opioid painkillers.
Oxycontin maker drug overdose lawsuit
Since 2015, nearly 33,000 people have lost their lives from an opioid or painkiller drug overdose. Many of them turned to illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl after being prescribed OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Oxecta by a doctor. Sadly, families and communities are grieving over the loss of loved ones and struggling with how to combat the growing epidemic plaguing our country.
Recent news reports suggest drug companies like Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, pushed its medication on unsuspecting patients by effectively bribing doctors with thousands of dollars in speaking fees. Additionally, Purdue marketed Oxycontin based on lies, claiming that less than 1 percent of patients became addicted to the medication and that Oxycontin would barely produce a high.
Since the FDA approved Oxycontin to treat short term pain or terminal illnesses like, Purdue has aggressive sought to reshape the medical landscape on how and when general practitioners prescribe powerful synthetic narcotics. The combination of Purdue Pharma’s aggressive marketing, false advertising, and greed have resulted in the tragic loss of so many husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers.
About opioid painkiller drugs
Opioids are a powerful type of painkiller initially developed and prescribed to manage short term pain following surgery or end of life scenarios. Unfortunately, drug companies aggressive pushed for doctors to prescribe the medication for conditions the medication were not suited for.
Some of the main types of opioids are:
After becoming dependent on prescription medications, many patients turned to illegal street drugs like heroin and illicit forms of fentanyl to maintain their addictions. These street drugs give users the same type of high as their prescriptions but with deadly results.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been very clear on the relationship between over-prescribing opioid painkillers and patients turning to heroin. Furthermore, the CDC has gone as far as to describe the current heroin epidemic as the worst in U.S. history.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a powerful semi-synthetic opioid medication developed by Purdue Pharma in the 1990’s to treat short term pain. However, in the past decade, Purdue began an aggressive marketing campaign to expand the types of conditions doctors could issue prescriptions.
The medication is synthesized from thebaine, an opioid alkaloid found in poppy plants and one of many chemicals to create painkillers. Classified as a narcotic, OxyContin relieves pain by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. The four opioid receptors in the brain are:
- Opioid receptor like-1 (ORL1)
OxyContin binds itself to three opioid receptors: Mu, Delta, and Kappa. In addition to blocking pain pathways in the brain, opioid narcotics like OxyContin also activate the reward centers of the brain, making them highly addictive and prone to causing dependency by the patient.
What are the side effects of OxyContin?
Like many prescription medications, OxyContin has many side effects. The most common OxyContin side effects include:
- Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, fatigue
- Constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
Addiction, tolerance, and dependence are among the most serious side effects of OxyContin. As patients use the opioid over long periods of time, the user develops a tolerance to the medication and does not receive the same feeling.
Tens of thousands of patients prescribed OxyContin became addicted and developed a much higher tolerance for the drug which lead them to turn to illicit street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their battles with opioid addiction over the past two decades, an epidemic caused by aggressive and possibly illegal marketing by companies like Purdue Pharma.
Can I sue drug makers after a heroin overdose?
Lawsuits alleging drug makers are responsible for subsequent overdoses on drugs like heroin and fentanyl are a recent phenomenon after revelations companies like Purdue Pharma misrepresented the side effects and dependency of OxyContin. At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our team of experienced painkiller drug overdose lawyers are investigating these types of claims and intend to hold drug companies responsible for the harm they have caused.
Even if your loved one died from an overdose of an illegal drug like heroin or fentanyl, you may still be able to hold the prescription drug maker accountable for the cause of the underlying addiction. In addition to filing a drug overdose lawsuit against the drug maker, your attorney may be able to file suit against the doctor who prescribed the medication.