Did you know that in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 33,000 people in the United States died from an overdose on opiates? According to the CDC, 91 Americans die every day from opiate overdose. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opiates sold in the US has quadrupled, but there has not been a growth in the amount of pain that Americans have reported. Fentanyl is intended to treat severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Fentanyl is known for giving a “heroin-like” effect and is sold on illegal drug markets. This drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and along with opiates, are commonly used and abused, creating this national drug epidemic. Manufacturers of these opiates have stated that they are troubled with the crisis and are wanting to work towards collaboratively finding solutions.
The Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine has revealed his concerns for the opiate use in Ohio and is actively working towards finding solutions. Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against five drug companies for prescription painkillers that have been dispersed throughout the state. DeWine held a news conference in May stating that the “lawsuit is about justice and fairness” and that “the people who played a significant role in creating this mess in the state of Ohio should clean it up.” DeWine also said that Medicaid and other state programs were affected by the epidemic. For example, the foster care placement for addicts increased, costing Ohioans about $45 million a year. State officials are working to decrease the amount of deaths and strengthen the guidelines for opiate use by requiring the dosage amount to be recorded in the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System. Deaths caused by overdoses have increased because of the improper use of opiates and other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
This lawsuit is being filed because of the damages done by five major drug manufacturers. Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Allergan, formerly known as Actavis are the defendants in the case. These companies are alleged to have engaged in marketing campaigns which misrepresent information about the dangers of overdose and addiction. There have been many complaints filed in multiple states encompassing this type of information and state officials are trying to discover how to advance and meet all the diverse state laws. Ohio is second only to Mississippi to file such an action.
I am sure that you are asking yourself how this might relate to Lardiere McNair, LLC and you. We have attorneys experienced in helping families that have been affected and who continue to be harmed by this national epidemic. In the instance of an unexpected death, not having your estate planned could create a huge problem for people who stand to inherit. Some examples of how the epidemic bleeds over into the practice of law are in the areas of estate planning and domestic relations; both areas in which we practice on a daily basis. We are here to assist families that have loved ones that are struggling with addiction. We can help grandparents that wish to provide a stable and safe home for their grandchildren whose parents are involved with heroin or other opiates, get the attention they deserve. Please allow our lawyers to help protect you, your family, and your business.
This blog was prepared by Kerbey Gregg, a summer clerk at Lardiere McNair, LLC.
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