According to leading publications from the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, the leading cause of overdoses is opoid drugs including Vicodin, Tylox, Demerol, and OxyContin. These drugs are commonly prescribed after surgery or other medical treatments for pain relief.
Opioid addiction and overdose is a complex medical and legal topic. It is not just a case of a handful of people choosing to abuse drugs. It is a systemic issue caused by a variety of factors, which may include drug manufacturers failing to provide information about how addictive their drugs are.
When a loved one suffers from an overdose, you may be looking for answers. This page provides more information about drug overdoses and also how the opioids crisis has impacted families around the country.
Understanding the Opioid Crisis
While drug overdoses can occur with any drug, including over the counter medication, most drug overdose deaths occur due to opioids. This class of drugs is often used for pain relief during and after surgeries.
Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord and reducing the pain messages sent to the brain. For patients suffering from debilitating pain, the relief can drastically improve their quality of life. However, the drugs are also highly addictive, a fact that some officials believe drug companies willfully hide.
A 2017 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors on the cost of the opioid crisis, notes, the opioid epidemic has cost communities in the United States a total of $504 billion and resulted in the deaths of more than 400,000 people.
Signs and Symptoms of a Drug Overdose
The signs and symptoms of a drug overdose are not the same for every patient. Other factors that may impact the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose include the patient’s weight, the amount of drugs taken, and the types of drugs ingested.
Here are the most common signs of a drug overdose:
- Rapid or weak pulse
- Difficulty focusing the eyes
If you suspect someone is suffering from a drug overdose, contact emergency services as soon as possible by dialing 911. Provide emergency personnel with as much information as possible, including the type of drug taken and when it was ingested. This information can be critical to providing treatment for overdose.
Causes of Drug Overdoses
Drug overdoses can have long term medical complications, including liver damage, neurological damage, and even death. And while addiction can result in overdoses, there are a variety of causes, including medical malpractice.
Drug overdoses occur any time a person takes more than the recommended dose of a drug. These can occur for several reasons, including:
- A patient accidentally takes a larger dose due to forgetfulness
- A patient purposefully takes a larger dose to reduce pain
- A patient purposefully takes more drugs to increase feelings of euphoria
- Lack of monitoring at a substance abuse center
- A doctor prescribes an incorrect dosage
- A doctor prescribes the incorrect drug for a patient’s symptoms
- A pharmacist incorrectly packages a medication
The results of a drug overdose can be catastrophic. When an overdose occurs due to the negligence of another party, that party may be held liable for the resulting damages.
Damages Available After a Loved One Passes Due to a Drug Overdose
Drug overdoses are becoming increasingly common due to the accessibility of prescription-based opioids. Drug overdoses can and do result in deaths. When deaths occur due to the negligence of another party, the family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Depending on the details of your case, your family may recover damages for the following:
- Cost of medical care up to the patient’s death
- Cost of a funeral or burial service
- Loss of salary of the victim
- Loss of companionship and support provided by the victim
- Pain and suffering sustained by the family and the victim before their death
Contact Newsome | Melton Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If your loved one passed away due to one of the leading causes of overdose deaths, you may be eligible to pursue damages from the at-fault party. Contact the team at Newsome | Melton today to discuss your claim and determine if you may be eligible to seek compensation.
Our team of legal professionals can review your situation, determine if the death was caused by neglect, and fight to recover the losses your family suffered. Seeking financial compensation may prevent the same situation from impacting another family.
Contact the team at Newsome | Melton today at (888) 808-5977 for a free case review.