Physicians have increased their prescription of powerful opioid analgesics in recent years to the extent that tens of millions of these medications are now being prescribed. The widespread use of prescription pain medication has led to abuses and such adverse health consequences as increases in emergency department visits, substance abuse treatment admissions, and unintentional overdose deaths.
In 2010, it was estimated that 16,651 people died due to inappropriate use of prescription opioid drugs, which was a 313 percent increase over the past ten years. The Food and Drug Administration has initiated efforts to curb the abuse of prescription painkillers.
Attorneys, physicians, insurers, and others should be aware of the types of lawsuit that may arise, and the defenses available when an injury related to the prescription or administration of pain medication occurs.