Painkiller overdoses are a deadly problem that can severely injure or kill patients given prescription medication by their physician. From 1999 to 2014, nearly 165,000 individuals in the United States have died following the use of prescription strength opioid medications.
The most commonly over prescribed opioid medications are Methadone, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone. These medications are used extensively within drug treatment programs, dental offices, and for pain management following surgical procedures. These are highly addictive drugs and nearly 1 in 4 people who receive them as part of a treatment regimen will develop a long-term addiction to these drugs. Nationwide, it is estimated that 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for addictions to these prescription grade opioids.
Medical negligence and over prescribing prescription painkillers is a problem that hits close to home in Nevada. This past month, Dr. Robert Rand was sued by the parents of Michael Yenick. Yenick died after Dr. Rand repeatedly increased the dosages of Ocycodone and other medications Yenick was prescribed. These dosages created an addiction that ultimately claimed his life. Most troubling is the fact that Dr. Rand was operating a “pill mill” wherein he deliberately prescribed medications that he knew patients did not need. Effectively, he was acting as a drug dealer for patients whose addictions he was creating and benefiting from financially.
It is estimated that approximately 2 million Americans abuse or have become dependent upon prescription opioid medication. These drugs can cause a persistent sense of euphoria or sedation. They may also cause significant respiratory depression, nausea, or vomiting. As with all drugs, the longer an individual uses them, the stronger their addiction will become. As the addiction progresses, it requires greater numbers of pills to create the high they desire. This leads to overdoses which can quickly claim a life.
Lawyers in Las Vegas see many cases of prescription drug abuse and overdoses every year. The city has the fourth highest rate for drug overdose deaths in the nation. Many of the drugs responsible are opioids such as methadone which is prescribed to treat addictions to heroin. Individuals who have become addicted to prescription medications, or who have suffered an overdose should contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Las Vegas to discuss their legal options. In Nevada, physicians may be held liable for the personal injuries, loss of quality of life, loss of income, addictions, and wrongful deaths that their prescriptions cause.