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To Stop the Opioid Epidemic, Legal Action is Necessary

To Stop the Opioid Epidemic, Legal Action is Necessary

The opioid epidemic has medical professionals, safety organizations, and the average person worried from coast-to-coast. According to research data and a special report from TIME magazine (, close to 64,000 Americans lost their lives due to drug overdoses in 2016, the majority of them caused by opioid addiction. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 110 people will die from an opioid overdose each day in the United States. The problem has become so severe, life expectancy in the country went down from 2015 to 2016.

All in all, the opioid crisis has become a monster that must be stopped. But how? What can be done to stop it, get people help, and ensure nothing like this happens again? To success, we must begin by understanding why addictive and dangerous opioids became so widespread in the first place.

Opioid Prescriptions Handed Out Like Candy

The root of the opioid epidemic is undoubtedly Big Pharma, the drug manufacturers that produce and sell the drugs to clinics, doctors, and so forth. OxyContin, which began production in 1996, was initially advertised to medical professionals as a non-addictive, slow-release form of opioids used in hospital settings. Even at that time, pharmaceutical companies had reason to doubt the safety of the product, yet kept that information to themselves. Since doctors and medical groups had to take them for their word due to a lack of research on the new opioid products, they began prescribing opioids frequently, for pretty much whenever a patient complained of pain.

The end result is a titanic boom of opioid prescriptions written due to misled information that is still making trouble today. Nearly 240 million opioid prescriptions were written last year in America. Doctors have been practically giving out opioid prescriptions like candy on Halloween because they were never told that the drugs were that much more dangerous than actual sweets. Due to the spread of misinformation, opioid sales and fatal overdoses rose in near-parallel rates, which each quadrupling in number between 1999 and 2010.

Big Tobacco Strategies Used Against Big Pharma

Taking on huge pharmaceutical companies to make them pay for the damages related to the opioid addiction crisis might seem impossible. Yet history tells us otherwise.

In 1994, Attorney General-turned-lawyer Mike Moore decided it was high time to hold the tobacco industry liable for all the harm it caused through downplaying the addictive and deadly properties of cigarettes. He teamed up with legal professionals and Attorney Generals from all across the country to slam Big Tobacco with a massive lawsuit to help pay for nicotine addiction. The resulting victory for Moore and the rest was groundbreaking, collecting $246 billion worth of recoveries to be distributed across all 50 states.

The same collective strategy that held Big Tobacco accountable is being used again, this time against Big Pharma. Hundreds of complaints have been filed already by counties, cities, and even Native American tribes. All of them demand compensation for the money lost due to the opioid epidemic, like law enforcement spending on answering overdose calls and medical treatments covered by state funding. On the other front of the war against the opioid crisis, trial attorneys are managing individual claims.

How You Can Help Defeat the Opioid Epidemic

Ultimately, it is everyone’s responsibility to help stop the opioid crisis from getting any worse. Through group efforts from all of us, we may soon be able to turn around the growing number of overdoses and hopefully bring the number down to zero.

What can you do to fight the opioid crisis?

  • Show your support for lawmakers and legislators who are bringing the legal fight to Big Pharma.
  • Ask your doctor about possible alternatives if offered an opioid prescription.
  • Keep any opioid prescription you do have in a secure location.
  • Talk to your doctor about how you can end your opioid prescription in a way that prevents withdrawal.

Of course, a great way to hold Big Pharma accountable for misleading opioid advertising is filing a lawsuit yourself if you or a loved one have suffered from opioid addiction. At Christian & Christian, our Greenville personal injury attorneys are currently looking into opioid claims from clients all across South Carolina. We would be honored to hear from you and see if we can provide you with the legal representation to take on large pharmaceutical companies with confidence.

Please contact us by calling 864.408.8890 and asking for a free case evaluation today.

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