The Opioid Epidemic
The word “epidemic” is not one that is used lightly. It can be defined as a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time. The bubonic plague is a historical example of a major epidemic. In today’s society, another kind of epidemic is the opioid epidemic. In America, there are over 100 lives claimed by opioid overdoses each day. This is a familiar problem in New Jersey, where drug addiction and abuse are serious concerns.
While many people are aware of illegal opioids like heroin, there are also many opioids that are made legally available to the public via a doctor’s prescription. Examples of such opioids include oxycodone (ie. OxyContin), hydrocodone (ie. Vicodin), codeine, and morphine. Legal or illegal, opioids are highly addictive. For a long time, those opioid overdoses were almost always fatal. Recently, however, access to an anti-overdose drug called naloxone (Narcan) has made it possible to combat the deadly consequences of an opioid overdose.
How Naloxone Works
Naloxone is a controlled substance and medication that blocks the effects of opioids. It can even reverse an opioid overdose — and it can still be effective if the person overdosing took opioids along with alcohol and/or other drugs.
The anti-overdose drug is administered by intramuscular injection, which means it is delivered deep into the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, or arms. There is also a nasal spray of naloxone now available, which many U.S. cities are beginning to utilize. It usually works within the first five minutes of being administered, but sometimes another dose is required if the person is still showing signs of an overdose. It is also important to note that the use of naloxone will cause the person to go into opioid withdrawal.
There are many who are advocating for naloxone to be made even more accessible in an effort to save those lives that otherwise may be taken because of an opioid overdose. Still, further education on naloxone and the proper training that is necessary in order to administer the medication is still needed.
New Jersey Malpractice Lawyers Fight for Overdose Victims
While many people who overdose do so while using illegal opioids, there are many others who become addicted as a result of possible medical malpractice. In these cases, victims may have had a doctor, pharmacist or other medical professional overprescribe a legal opioid, leading to addiction and subsequent overdose.
When these types of overdoses happen and result in brain injuries or death, the doctor responsible should, of course, be held accountable for their negligence and the harm that they caused. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to opioid prescription malpractice in New Jersey, you need the help of Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari. We can answer all of your questions regarding opioid-related injuries and your right to collect compensation. Our law firm handles many types of other medical malpractice cases as well, from failure to diagnose and hospital negligence, to medication and surgical errors. Fill out the online contact form, or call (973) 635-5400, to begin discussing your case today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.