A New York family has filed a lawsuit against three doctors who they allege negligently prescribed opioid painkillers to their daughter’s drug-addicted killer. Jennifer Mejia was killed along with three other victims in June 2011 during a drug store robbery committed by one of the doctors’ patients.
Mejia was an employee at Haven Drugs in Medford, New York when a man entered the store and quickly shot her, as well as a fellow employee and two customers. The man then took more than 10,000 prescription painkillers from the store before fleeing the scene. He was apprehended by police shortly thereafter.
According to the Mejia family’s lawsuit, Jennifer’s killer had a long history of painkiller addiction—and of doctors who prescribed him these drugs. The family alleges that the three doctors named in their lawsuit were negligent for prescribing excessive amounts of painkillers to their daughter’s killer, causing him to become addicted to the drugs and leading him to go on a killing spree to obtain more medication.
Fueled in part by opioid overprescription by doctors, the rate of painkiller abuse in the U.S. has increased precipitously in recent years. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of emergency room visits for the non-medical use of opioid painkillers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008.