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THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: PART III OF OUR 3-PART SERIES

The Opioid Epidemic: Part III of our 3-part Series

At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on prosecuting injury claims to ensure negligent individuals and businesses are held responsible for irresponsible behavior resulting in injury, so those impacted are fairly compensated. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to the national opioid crisis.

In our Three-Part Series “The Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin,” we look at how and why the abuse of prescription opioid drugs has become a national crisis that has weakened our social fabric, devastating families and taxing the economy. The series also explores pharmaceutical companies’ role in the growing epidemic and how government and individuals are holding these companies responsible.

Part III

Injured Individuals Can Help in the Fight against Opioid Drug Abuse

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with a prescription opioid drug addiction, or has suffered from an overdose. Opioid addition knows no geographical, economic, religious, economic or age boundaries. It is a very real problem that is sweeping the country and causing a lot of unnecessary pain, injury and death.

In the first 2 parts of our series, “The Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin,” we reported on the social and financial havoc the crisis has wreaked on the social fabric of the state and its toll on residents. We now turn our attention to what we can do--collectively and individually--in the fight against opioid drug abuse.

Education is Key to Prevention

The more you know, the better equipped you are to fight back. If you are physically injured and need surgery or medicine to take care of pain, discuss options with your doctor. Patients are often prescribed prescription opioids like Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycodone, without knowing their risk of addiction. If you have been addicted to drugs or alcohol, be open with your doctor. Alternatives to these drugs do exist and can help prevent serious addiction issues. Non-opioid treatments for chronic pain, such as alternative medicine approaches, such as acupuncture and meditation, as well as physical exercise and techniques for how to self-manage and mitigate pain exist. Do your own research, and if you feel a prescription opioid drug is necessary, consult another professional for a second opinion.

If you have opioids in your house, have an honest talk with your kids about the dangers of the medications. Useful resources for that discussion can be found here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-drugs.

While you may trust your children to do the right thing, their friends or acquaintances may not know the dangers and may get into your medicine cabinet. Teens who aren’t aware of what they are taking are more likely to overdose. Also, they often mix prescription pills with alcohol, which can be a toxic combination. Closely guard your drugs, lock them up if possible, and dispose of them correctly.

How Do You Know if You Are Addicted?

Here are some of the top signs:

  • You feel that you must take an opioid to “feel normal”. This can sneak up on you after you’ve been taking prescribed opioids for an injury or recent surgery. Your body grows accustomed to operating with opioids in it, and if they are suddenly taken away, your body will react.
  • You are taking more than the prescribed dose. It is essential to take only what the doctor prescribes, and no more. If you notice you need more and more to achieve the same effect, it signals a problem.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking the medication. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, sweating, tremors, seizures, and even comas in severe cases.
  • You try to get more pills beyond what’s prescribed. You might find yourself “doctor shopping” to get the same medication from different physicians. Or worse, you turn to heroin, a street drug, to get a similar fix. In either case, you are most likely struggling with addiction.

If addicted, seek professional medical help immediately.

If you are taking prescription medicine more than directed, stop immediately. If you can’t do it on your own, seek professional help. If you don’t know where to turn, IMPACT 211 is a dependable community resource for anyone concerned about themselves or a loved one. You may also visit www.impactinc.org for more information.

Opiate withdrawal can cause uncomfortable symptoms, which often cause people to take more medication. If this happens to you, it means your body is addicted. You will need professional help and medical supervision to get better.

Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Accountable in Court

A sizeable number of pharmaceutical companies are being forced to explain in court their role in the crisis. In an effort to ensure these companies shoulder some of the blame and public costs of the damages wreaked by opioids, dozens of state and local governments throughout the country have filed lawsuits. Defendants include: drug-makers such as Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and Teva; drugstore chains such as Walgreens and CVS; and distributors such as Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation. The lawsuits argue drug-makers used aggressive sales tactics to boost revenues from the drugs while downplaying their risks, and pharmacy chains and wholesalers violated the Federal Controlled Substances Act by failing to alert the US Drug Enforcement Administration of suspicious opioid purchases--such as large numbers of pills sold, which were diverted to the black market.

In addition to the risk of addition, overdose and death caused by opioid abuse, the FDA also requires drug manufacturers to include warnings about these lesser-known injuries caused by opioid abuse:

  • Serotonin Syndrome: Serotonin Syndrome occurs when the serotonin levels in the body are too high, leading to serious symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include fever, sweating, diarrhea, seizures, and muscle breakdown.
  • Adrenal Insufficiency: Opioid abuse can also affect the adrenal glands’ ability to produce the hormone cortisol. If not treated, adrenal insufficiency may result in severe abdominal pains, vomiting, profound muscle weakness and fatigue, extremely low blood pressure, weight loss, kidney failure, changes in mood and personality, shock, and death.

Casey Law Offices, S.C. is committed to obtaining justice for our clients. Our knowledgeable staff are not afraid to take on large corporate defendants, and we have helped many clients obtain financial settlements for their injuries. If you have suffered an opioid addiction due to the negligence of a drug manufacturer or distributor, our team can help. We can investigate the situation, build your case, and work hard to help you seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With decades of legal experience, our Milwaukee dangerous drug attorneys can guide you through the process and aggressively uphold your right to a financial settlement in court.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

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