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Did My Doctor Act Irresponsibly by Prescribing Opioids?

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Santa Clara County prescription malpractice attorney, prescribing opioids, prescription medication addiction, drug-related deaths, opioid dependenceThe use of drugs has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of accidental deaths in some states. In Ohio alone, prescription opioids are linked to more than half of the drug overdoses reported.

For years, government officials have made public pleas to the medical industry to utilize alternative options for pain relief rather than merely prescribing an addictive pain reliever. Unfortunately, sales statistics of pain relievers continue increasing, as do drug-related deaths.

If doctors know there is a problem, but they prescribe the medications anyway, can they be held responsible if their patients become addicted?

A Delicate Balance

Doctors must treat their patients’ ailments quickly and efficiently. If someone suffers from debilitating pain, a pain reliever may be the best solution in some instances. Pain relievers offer relatively quick relief and are covered by most insurance companies. However, many patients prescribed these medications often discover the pain does not entirely leave; it comes back as soon as the drug wears off and another dose becomes necessary. Over time, the body needs a stronger formula to dull the pain. Many patients go on to use illegal opiates, such as heroin.

There are alternative pain relief options, but many are not fully covered by insurance companies and patient follow-through may not be an option. These alternatives include:

  • Chiropractor;
  • Acupuncture;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Ample rest;
  • Anti-inflammatory medications; and
  • Exercise.

When a Doctor is Negligent

Due to patient demands and a rushed schedule, some doctors may find it easier to fill out a prescription and meet the patient’s short-term goal of pain relief. Although this is initially helpful, it does not take into account the patient’s long-term quality of life. If the cause of the pain is not addressed, the discomfort continues. However, a prescription for a pain reliever does not necessarily make a doctor negligent. On the other hand, if a doctor knows of a past addiction and prescribes a highly-addictive drug rather than trying other alternatives, then the doctor may be at fault for opioid dependence.

Consult an Attorney

If you suffer from a prescription medication addiction and believe the prescribing doctor may be at fault, a Santa Clara County, CA prescription malpractice attorney can help. Your doctor, pharmacist, and other medical staff owe a duty of care to monitor for signs of addiction and to find a long-term solution for pain, rather than a quick-fix. The lawyers at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. understand the devastating effects addictions have on individuals, families, and careers and will aggressively seek to earn you the compensation you deserve from all responsible parties. Contact us today at 408-289-1417 to schedule your free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

http://bulletin.facs.org/2017/07/the-opioid-epidemic-what-can-surgeons-do-about-it/#.WvVxOjGG_IU

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#prescription-opioids

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