Opioid Overdose Causes Life Expectancy to Drop
The Journal of the Amercian Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a study that examined changes in life expectancy between the years 2000 and 2015 from drug poisoning. The study found that life expectancy overall increased from 76.8 years in 2000 to 78.8 years in 2015. However, drug poisoning mortality more than doubled in the United States from 2000-2015. This included poisoning mortality involving opioids, which more than tripled. at birth decreased by almost three months. This is the first drop in 25 years. Experts say the increased numbers of opioid users are to blame.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug known as heroin, and synthetic prescription drugs including fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, or methadone (drugs with common names such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin).
Prescription opioids are medications that are chemically similar to endorphins and interact with opioid receptors in the body and brain. Endorphins are opioids our body makes naturally to relieve pain. In nature, opioids are in the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Opioid medications can be natural or synthetic.
For most people, when taking medically prescribed opioids for a short time, they are relatively safe and can reduce pain effectively. However, dependence and addiction are still potential risks when taking prescription opioids. The longer you use these medications, the higher your chance of developing addiction symptoms.
Opioid Overdose Epidemic
The JAMA study highlights the deep impact of America’s ongoing opioid epidemic. Thie numbers are mounting into the deadliest drug overdose crisis in history. This is the first major drop in life expectancy since 1993. Unfortunately, researchers expect this problem to get worse as overdose numbers continue to climb. In fact, in 2015, the study reported more than 33,000 deaths from opioid poisoning.
Drug Manufacturers to Blame
In the 1990s, drug manufactures convinced doctors that their products like OxyContin and Percocet were non-habit forming and were the best way to treat chronic pain. Previously, opioids were only used to treat the terminally ill. After changing the prescribing guidelines, prescription rates increased by 900%. People began to become addicted. Even just taking an opioid for more than 3 days increases the risk of dependency. Thus far, 650,000 people have died from opioid use. This is more than breast cancer and the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s.
Seeing the rise in opioid misuse and deaths, officials have cracked down on prescriptions painkillers. Law enforcement has threatened doctors with incarceration and the loss of their medical licenses if they prescribe the drugs unscrupulously. What about the drug manufacturers? What is their punishment for knowingly getting a nation addicted to powerful painkillers?
Now, many people have lost their legal access to the drug while still being addicted. Some have turned to cheaper more potent opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. A 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry found 75% of heroin users in treatment started with painkillers. Then, a 2015 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who are addicted to painkillers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Therefore, statistics show other types of opioid overdoses are rising.
Retain a Victorious Team for Your Case
Did you or a loved one become addicted to opioids prescribed by your doctor as painkiller medication? Did you or a loved one overdose and request resuscitation? Has someone you loved passed away due to an opioid overdose? You can and should take legal action right away!
The Michael Brady Lynch Firm can provide legal representation for people who have suffered due to an opioid overdose. With more than 20 years of legal experience, we have the skills and the expertise to construct your case and seek proper compensation for your pain.
In the past, The Michael Brady Law Firm has secured numerous victories for clients hurt by doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical organizations. Let us bring our passion and experience to your case to help you find the compensation you need to recover from your opioid overdose. We can help you recover medical expenses incurred from your overdose.