Overprescribing Opioids

Tennessee Medical Malpractice Attorneys Holding Medical Professionals Responsible for Overprescribing Opioids

Protecting clients’ rights in Memphis, Jackson and Throughout the state

Starting in the late 1990s, doctors began prescribing opioid painkillers to patients after the major pharmaceutical companies assured them that these drugs were safe, and patients were not likely to become dependent. We have since learned that this information was false, and that people became addicted to the opioid painkillers, they misused and diverted the drugs, and some turned to illegal street drugs when prescription drugs were no longer available. At the height of what came to be known as the opioid epidemic in 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose, and more than 2 million people suffered from substance abuse disorders because of opioid pain killers. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we hold medical professionals accountable when their negligent prescribing practices lead to patient harm or death. We investigate the alleged malpractice to discover the link between the physician’s actions and the patient’s harm. We fight diligently for your right to recover compensation when your injuries are the result of preventable medical errors. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case with a competent, Memphis medical malpractice attorney.

What types of opioid painkillers have been overprescribed?

There are several types of synthetic drugs that are categorized as opioids including the following:

  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydro morphine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Propoxyphene

Adverse side-effects of opioid overprescribing

Aside from the risk of dependence and overdose, some of the adverse health effects of opioid abuse include the following:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Inadequate pain management
  • Immunologic and hormonal dysfunction
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Myoclonus (involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles)

(National Institutes of Health)

Can overprescribing opioids be considered medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to comply with the accepted standard of care and in so doing causes harm to their patient. The standard of care is established both by law and by what any other reasonable and conscientious medical professional would do given the same circumstances. If a doctor is prescribing highly addictive opioid pain medication in a manner which harms the patient or is not indicated for the patient’s symptoms or condition, it can be considered medical malpractice.

What role do physicians play in the opioid epidemic?

Dr. Palmer Mackie, M.D., director of the Integrative Pain Program at Eskenazi Health Center describes the role he and his colleagues played in propagating opioid abuse and misuse, “It is arguably the single largest iatrogenic epidemic–the biggest medical-initiated problem that has ever appeared in the United States.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about 21% to 29% of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, and between 8% and 12% develop an opioid use disorder. NIDA estimates that 4% to 6% of those who misuse prescription opioids will transition to heroin, and about 80% of those who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.

How can a medical malpractice attorney help my case?

If you believe that the adverse effects that you are suffering from are because you were over-prescribed opioid painkillers, you may wish to speak with a skilled medical malpractice attorney from the law firm of Bailey & Greer. We will listen to your story, investigate your case, consult with medical experts, and advise you on the best course of action. We determine if your doctor breached her duty of care and caused your injury, and we will pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

Schedule a consultation with a competent medical malpractice attorney today

The Tennessee medical malpractice attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, are here to protect your rights when you or a loved one has been harmed because of preventable medical negligence. You are welcome to call our Memphis medical malpractice attorneys today to request a free initial consultation to discuss your case. You can reach us at 901-680-9777 or you can complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.