Are Doctors Part of the Country's Opioid Problem?
Dating back as early as 1999, the United States has experienced a rapidly growing problem with opioids, which have led to an alarming rate of fatal overdoses throughout the years. In fact, in 2013, opioids accounted for 37% of fatal drug overdoses. What is the driving force behind this terrible problem? A major part of it has to do with the change in attitude within the medical community regarding the use of opioids to treat pain. In the past, these addictive drugs were reserved for treating pain that usually stemmed from fatal illnesses, or for short-term usage, allowing patients to comfortably recover after surgery. However, even today, opioids are being prescribed to treat conditions that can be just as effectively addressed with less dangerous medications.
Many believe that the reasoning behind this shift in attitude within the medical community is the result of extensive marketing by pharmaceutical companies who are incentivizing the over-prescription of opioids like OxyContin by putting more money in the pockets of doctors. As a result, medical use of opioids grew tenfold in the past 20 years. In fact, medical professionals such as primary care physicians, who generally do not have the experience or training to treat pain were prescribing more opioids than pain specialists. In 2012, 18% of prescriptions for opioid analgesics were provided by family practitioners, and 15% by internists. A mere 5% of these dangerous drugs were prescribed by pain specialists.
What Should be Done?
No one wants to have to live with pain, but the fact is that opioids are actually not the most effective at treating pain and come with a whole host of other problems when doctors prescribe it for long-term use. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin or analgesics like Tylenol are not only safer for patients to use, but more effective for treating a vast array of painful conditions.
While this is helpful for patients to know, the real change needs to take place in the medical community, especially given the active role it took in creating the problem. Doctors need to consider the alternatives to harsh and addictive opioids to prevent these dangerous drugs from either getting into the hands of the wrong people or to keep patients from developing addictions that can ultimately lead to a fatal overdose.
Experienced Opioid Attorneys in Florida
At The Ferraro Law Firm, our attorneys have been serving Florida since 1985, holding big pharmaceutical companies accountable for their reckless and abusive business practices. Our team has the experience and knowledge to walk you through this process and ensure you are able to achieve justice and recover damages. Reach out to our legal team today and get the help you deserve.
Call us at (888) 554-2030 to schedule a free initial case evaluation and get started on your case.