Addictive Prescription Drug Overdose: Who is to Blame?

A 43-year old bipolar man, who had been addicted to prescription drugs since his teenage years, has had a long record of drug arrests and had overdosed many times, took a walk after dinner, one night, and then sat down to rest on a curb . . . he never got up again. For months, he had been taking Hydrocodone, a painkiller, and Carisoprodol, a skeletal muscle relaxant, along with seven other medications.

A female, 22 years in age, whose childhood had been ruined by excruciating stomach pains, which also caused severe indigestions, and who had suffered pain almost her entire life, was found by her father in bed (on the night of his birthday). She was curled up, pale, motionless and with blood from her nose. She was discovered to have abused her medications (pain reliever), which included Morphine and Methadone (a synthetic painkiller similar to morphine in effect, but which acts longer).

There are, at least, a dozen more stories like those above, wherein persons just suddenly drop, their lives snatched out of them. The identified causes of their deaths are drugs – an overdose of drugs. Not illegal ones, but those that have been prescribed by their doctors, such as pain and anxiety medications, most of which have very strong effects.

Narcotic pain relievers, which have been causing, at least, 20,000 deaths each year since 2009, is the new serious threat to health that America needs to face this 21st century, as revealed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And besides those who have been prescribed with, and overdosed, the medication, many other fatalities come from the groups of teenagers and young adults, who use the drugs recreationally, especially during parties. The most commonly abused addictive medicines identified by the CDC are OxyContin (a synthetic analgesic drug with effects like morphine), Vicodin (an Opioid analgesic that is used as a recreational drug; it contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone), Xanax (a sedative of the Benzodiazepine group that is taken to treat anxiety) and Soma (a muscle relaxant drug). These are usually mixed together by party people, who take and drink a handful of them to get the high that they want, not knowing the severe or deadly effect the mixture has. (Fatal overdoses are usually results of the combination of Benzodiazepines, used as tranquilizers, and Opioid analgesics, pain relievers which work on the central nervous system).

Doctors may be guilty of recklessly prescribing the addictive prescription drugs to patients with records of drug overdose; but what about parents who, in turn, put these within easy reach of their children? And since teens see their parents using these drugs, why, then, would they think that these can cause severe harm?

Drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter drugs, are products of long research and clinical tests. These tests are required to prove their safeness and effectivity, so as to merit the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for patient use. These drugs, or medicines, are intended as fast relief for pains and other ailments, used to treat or keep illnesses from getting worse or just to maintain people’s good health.

Sometimes, proving liability where prescription drugs are used or overused, can be complicated. Is it the fault of the manufacturers, who may have failed to warn patients of the severe effects of their drugs when not used properly, the doctors, who have prescribed the strong pain relievers despite the patient’s tendency to overdose, the patients, who have overused the medicine or failed to properly secure the medicine, or the teenage / young adult abusers themselves, who ought to know the dangerous consequences of overdosing?

In a personal injury lawsuit, proving whose negligence it was that caused the injury or death of someone is long and complicated. It necessitates arguments and counter-arguments, proofs of negligence or reckless behavior, and the fact that this behavior caused the victim’s injury or death. Seeking the services of a highly-competent personal injury lawyer is often a necessity to bring the liable party to justice and for the victim to merit the compensation that he/she legally deserves.

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