Updated: June 5, 2023, at 10:58 a.m.
Are you or a loved one addicted to opioids? Perhaps you’ve lost a family member to an opioid overdose. If so, you could consider joining one of the thousands of opioid class action lawsuits to seek redress for the damages opioids wreaked on your life.
Today, we’ll be outlining what to do if you’d like to pursue the possibility of taking legal action against an opioid manufacturer. Before that, is opioid addiction still a genuine problem today?
The Opioid Crisis
Opioid addiction continues to place enormous strain on society and various industries, including:
- Healthcare professionals
- The criminal justice system
- Law enforcement
- Workplace productivity
- Addiction and mental health treatment centers
- Deaths from opioid use have quadrupled since 1999.
- Per the CDC, nearly 70,000 people die in the US annually, and opioids cause 70% of those deaths.
- Unfortunately, this is expected to rise sharply due to the pandemic, despite a 10% decrease in opioid-related deaths from 2018 to 2020.
- Drug overdose deaths have been increasing, with over 106,000 reported in 2021 alone, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the CDC.
- The cumulative economic burden of the opioid epidemic between 2001 and 2017 exceeds $1 trillion.
- The CDC also reports that over 263,000 Americans have died from opioid-related deaths.
- Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for adults under 50.
Remember, opioid addiction is not a sign of moral failure or weak will. Addiction to opioids does not discriminate according to class, race, or gender. Indeed, most people in the U.S. addicted to opioids didn’t end up there as recreational drug users, but because they took painkillers prescribed by their physicians.
For example, someone might be prescribed Vicodin for a weightlifting injury and continue to take it for another 3 years. As tolerance builds, they take more painkillers until one day they overdose. This is not the profile of a typical drug user.
Given those sobering statistics, what can you do if opioids have negatively impacted your life and you want to take legal action?
Currently, 2500 counties, cities, authorities, and individuals are pursuing big pharma companies for over-prescribing and over-promoting opioid pain medication like Oxycontin. The underlying aim of these class action lawsuits is to seek justice and recoup some of the costs of this devastating epidemic.
In October 2019, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $270 million toward funding addiction treatments and research centers in Oklahoma.
There are still more than 1600 lawsuits still pending against Purdue Pharma. As over 2000 cases are being brought against big pharma in general, they are consolidated into one lawsuit called the National Prescription Opiate in order to streamline the process.
A bellwether trial was due to take place in Ohio in October 2019. A bellwether trial is a test trial of a highly controversial issue. This was halted when Teva Pharmaceuticals, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen offered out-of-court settlements.
National Opioid Settlements
The National Opioid Settlements are agreements between states and big pharmaceutical companies like:
- Cardinal Health
- Janssen Pharmaceuticals
These companies have agreed to pay billions of dollars over several years to address the opioid crisis. The settlements have already begun, and you can find detailed information about them in the executive summary available at NationalOpioidSettlement.com. If you or your loved ones have been affected by opioids, joining an opioid class action lawsuit may make you eligible for compensation from these settlements.
- Michigan Opioid Settlements Near $1.5 Billion
- Meijer Agrees to $2 Million Opioid Lawsuit Settlement With Kalamazoo
What Is An Opioid Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits are mainly a U.S. phenomenon.
In a traditional lawsuit, one party sues another for redress with both parties present in court. With class action lawsuits, by contrast, a plaintiff takes legal action on behalf of you and a group of absent parties.
An opioid class action lawsuit is initiated by people who have taken opioid medication and suffered negative consequences. The underlying claim of these class suits is that manufacturers encouraged the prescription of opioid medications despite knowing there were safer alternatives.
Why, then, are these pharmaceutical companies being held to account?
Big Pharma And Opioids
In some states, there were more opioid prescriptions than residents. Opioid manufacturers routinely turned a blind eye to pharmacies placing suspiciously large orders for these painkillers.
The manufacturers knew their medications were being abused, but they did nothing to stop this.
Purdue Pharma introduced Oxycontin in 1996 and employed unlawful and aggressive marketing tactics, placing profit over people. The company downplayed the addictive potential of these painkillers to doctors and aggressively promoted them for off-label use.
Doctors over-prescribed opioids based on misinformed decisions because they were misled by the manufacturers about the addictive nature of opioids.
The over-prescription of opioid painkillers led to widespread abuse among people of all backgrounds. Many individuals became dependent on these medications. When painkillers became too expensive or prescriptions were not refilled, some turned to cheaper alternatives on the street.
How You Can Join An Existing Opioid Class Action Lawsuit?
Find A Lawyer
The first step to joining an opioid class action lawsuit is to find a lawyer who is looking for people to add to their case. There are lawyers in every county and state now who are representing class-action lawsuits. To find a relevant lawyer you can search Hughes and Coleman.
Alternatively, you can contact the Northern Ohio District Courthouse for more information. To be eligible the injured or deceased person must have been getting a prescription at the time of death or injury. Unfortunately, people who developed opioid addiction after being prescribed the medication, but later experienced injury or death due to a heroin habit, don’t meet the eligibility criteria for the lawsuit.
If you qualify for the class-action lawsuit, your lawyer will ask you to provide more evidence.
When you join a class action lawsuit you won’t have to pay any legal fees upfront.
Can You File An Opioid Class Action Lawsuit?
To pursue an opioid class action lawsuit, you need to use a lawyer. Trying to navigate the legal complexities involved alone could end up costing you a great deal with no return.
Your best option is to contact a lawyer specializing in class action lawsuits. Alternatively, contact the North District Ohio courtroom.
What Compensation Can You Expect From An Opioid Lawsuit?
An opioid lawsuit aims to seek compensation for:
- Drug rehabilitation
- Funeral costs
- Hospital bills
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
It’s tough to tell how much you might receive in compensation as these lawsuits are only just making their way through the court system.
No one really knows how much any settlement is likely to be. If an attorney advises you how much you might get, be aware that they could be misleading you. Keep your expectations open.
The Bottom Line
Make sure you seek legal advice from a reputable attorney. Pharmaceutical giants have powerful lawyers supporting them in this new legal territory.
Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you have strong legal representation.
To keep up to date on the current status of opioid class action lawsuits across the country visit the Class Action.org website.
What To Do Next
If you’re in need of more urgent assistance for opioid addiction, we can help you with drug and alcohol rehab or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) here at Landmark Recovery. Call our 24/7 admissions team today at 888-448-0302 for confidential support.
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