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Is it Negligent for My Doctor to Prescribe Opioids?


If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve probably noticed that the opioid epidemic is becoming a hot-button legal issue. Just this month, for example, opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson was found to be at least partially responsible for the rise of the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma.

One of the most disturbing notes from this trial has to do with the prescription of opioid painkillers. According to the ruling, Johnson & Johnson downplayed risks and aggressively marketed to doctors. Doctors who prescribed a high quantity of opioids were considered to be “key customers” and targeted appropriately.

While it’s heartening to know that Johnson & Johnson is being held responsible, what about the doctors who prescribed these addictive painkillers? Due to the deceptive marketing of J&J in the 1990s, liability seems to rest more squarely on the manufacturers, but with the knowledge we have today, opioids have to be prescribed extremely carefully, if at all.

How do Doctors Safely Prescribe Opioids?

For many doctors, the first step in  safe prescription of any kind is to examine family history. For instance, if a patient has a family history of addiction, they should never be prescribed opioid painkillers. Highly addictive, these drugs can cause a dependency within just five days. Additionally, the risks and benefits of any drug therapy should be discussed and understood by both the doctor and their patient, and drugs should never be prescribed indefinitely. Once the opioid is given to the patient, doctors should follow-up with the patient regularly and have a plan in place for discontinuation. Considering the risk of addiction, the CDC also recommends making advance arrangements to treat any potential disorders that may arise.

Getting Help for an Opioid Addiction

If your doctor failed to follow CDC guidelines or consider patient-specific risk factors, you may have developed an addiction that is in no way your fault.  Still, you should not let yourself become another statistic. Enrolling in an inpatient treatment center is an effective way to get well, and you may be able to recoup the costs of any treatment you seek through a medical malpractice claim.

If you believe the errors of a medical professional in any way contributed to your opioid addiction, contact our attorneys at Belushin Law Firm, P.C. today. You can set up a free consultation online or call us at (888) 918-9890.

With more than a decade of legal experience, we are more than ready to help you recover and get back on your feet.

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