In the wake of recent reports showing that drug injury and overdose deaths in America are reaching record levels, some local governments in Florida are considering suing drug companies that manufacture prescription painkillers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the latest data reports at least 59,000 overdose deaths nationwide in 2016, as compared t0 52,000 the previous year.
The latest information available for Florida shows that drug-related deaths in 2016 may increase by as much as 36 percent over 2015. That means an average of 14 people a day are losing their lives to the opioid crisis in the state. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency, which will make$27million dollars in federal funding available. In addition to treatment programs, increased funds will go toward the purchase of naloxone. It’s an anti-overdose drug that first responders use to save lives. Some money will also go to help drug-addicted mothers of newborns.
Local Governments Consider Action
But local governments, including Jacksonville and Palm Beach County, are considering suing the manufacturers and distributors of prescription painkillers. They contend that makers of the drugs are partly responsible for the crisis because they downplay the addiction risks. Cities and counties are suing to recover the costs associated with the opioid crisis, including emergency services for overdoses.
Drug injury attorneys, meanwhile, have sued drug makers on behalf of individuals who have overdosed or been otherwise injured by prescription pain killers. Doctors must prescribe these drugs properly. A doctor may prescribe drugs that are too strong. Or they may prescribe many more pills than a patient needs. Doctors should not prescribe painkillers for patients with certain medical conditions. Or doctors may prescribe drugs that cause a bad interaction with other pharmaceuticals the patient is taking.