The opioid crisis has been created by many factors including physicians that do not adhere to guidelines for the safe prescribing of pain medications to patients with pain conditions. In this case, the prescribing physician allowed for the dispensing of pain medications many times over what was recommended by the Center for Disease Control leading to addiction and dependency to the patient. Not only is the physician sometimes responsible but often the institution at which the physician practices can be held liable for failure to supervise and monitor.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that up to 7% of patients who are prescribed narcotic or opioid pain medications to treat pain will become addicted. The DEA has estimated that there are more than 4.7 million Americans dependent on prescription painkillers, which represents 2% of the U.S. adult population overall and this number continues to grow every year.
Not all patients are to blame for their own addiction to pain medication. In recent years more and more reports have surfaced indicating some physicians are writing prescriptions for excessive quantities and doses of pain medication. These physicians’ patients are much more likely to become addicted to their medication due to the excessive quantity or dose.
Physicians who prescribe excessive quantities or doses of narcotic pain medication are not acting in the best interests of their patients, and may be legally liable for any damage they cause due to inappropriate prescribing of narcotic or opioid pain medication.
Excessive prescription of narcotic or opioid pain medication can cause addiction, destroy families, or even take lives. However, the civil justice system can stand as a deterrence to such conduct and provide a remedy for those suffering at the hands of excessive prescription writing.
Facts from the CDC
Between 1999 and 2014 more than 165,000 persons died from an overdose related to prescription opioids.
Up to 1 out of 4 people receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with addiction
Providers wrote nearly a quarter billion opioid prescriptions in 2013.