Many of us experience chronic pain, whether it be from an illness, injury or serious medical condition. Over-the-counter medications don’t always work or last as long as they should. As a result, many seek prescription medications from their doctors.
Doctors try to find the right medication that will provide a patient with long-term pain relief. Many drug manufacturers promote their products to doctors, so doctors choose to use these medications. In many cases, these drugs are highly addictive opioids, which are often abused by patients. These patients may become addicted and turn to stronger drugs, such as heroin. In many cases, these patients die from overdoses.
With drug overdoses on the rise, many pharmaceutical companies are making conscious decisions to stop marketing addictive drugs to physicians. One of these companies is Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin and other pain medications.
Purdue Pharma recently announced that it would no longer market opioids to doctors. The company has restructured its operations, which included laying off more than half of its sales department. The remaining staff will focus on non-opioid drugs.
Purdue Pharma made the decision after it was criticized for contributing to the nations’ drug crisis. The company started marketing OxyContin more than 20 years ago as a superior pain relief drug. It claimed to last longer than other medications while making abuse less likely.
Physicians began widely prescribing OxyContin for pain management. Many became addicted and turned to heroin. This led to an epidemic of prescription drug overdose deaths. Life expectancy is dropping, and even the president called it a public health emergency.
Purdue Pharma’s decision to stop marketing OxyContin will help reduce overdose deaths. Other agencies are taking action as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for prescribing opioids. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) mandated a decrease in the manufacture of opioids by 25 percent. Some states are mandating digital prescriptions to prevent forgery. Even insurance companies are refusing to cover prescriptions for opioids. Some people are even suing Purdue Pharma for its role in causing overdose deaths.
In the United States, drug overdose is one of the top causes of accidental death. In 2012, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids. In 2015, 52,404 people died from drug overdoses. Opioid addiction accounted for more than 20,000 of these deaths.
Approximately 80 percent of heroin users started using the drug after misusing prescription drugs. More than 20 percent of heroin users develop an addiction to opioids. Of those seeking treatment for heroin addiction, 94 percent prefer heroin over prescription drugs because it is less expensive and easier to obtain.
Reach Out to a Miami, Florida Personal Injury Attorney for Help
This change will help people get the medical help they need without becoming addicted to drugs. Overprescription of drugs is causing patients to die needlessly.
Making these powerful drugs less available will reduce the number of deaths as well as cut down on the lawsuits filed against doctors and drug companies. If you or a loved one has become addicted or died due to the use of OxyContin and other prescription drugs, the Miami personal injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can help. Schedule a consultation by calling (305) 371-2692 or visiting us online.