The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) reports that the number of opioid overdoses in the U.S. has increased by 30% over the last 14 months. The agency says that the alarming new data should be a “wake up call to the fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic.”
According to the CDC data, U.S. hospitals recorded 142,000 overdoses linked to opioid painkillers between July 2016 and September 2017. Dr. Anne Schuchat, the acting director of the CDC, said that this was the highest rate of opioid overdoses ever recorded in the U.S.
Although not all of the 142,000 overdoses that occurred during this 14 month period were fatal, the alarming increase in hospitalizations due to opioids has led to an alarming number of deaths. According to the CDC, about 64,000 Americans died from an overdose involving prescription drugs during 2016; many of these deaths involved opioid painkillers.
The CDC’s opioid information relied on two data sets used by the agency: the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance and the National Syndromic Surveillance Program. Dr. Schuchat said that this data showed an increase in opioid overdoses throughout all regions of the country. In most states, the number of overdoses increased for both men and women, and across most age groups.
The Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) – which looks at emergency room data across 16 states – found an increase in opioid overdoses of at least 25% in half of these states. In two of these states – Wisconsin and Delaware – opioid overdoses more than doubled, with increases of 109% and 105%, respectively. In Pennsylvania, opioid overdoses rose by 81% during the 14 month period of the study.
The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) – which looked at emergency room data across 45 states – found that the number of opioid overdoses increased by a total of 30%. Although the CDC did not track the source of the opioids that caused the overdoses, officials said that the increased availability of powerful opioids such as heroin and fentanyl played a role in the increase.
Officials at the CDC have called for a number of new measure to combat the increasing number of overdoses and deaths being caused by the opioid crisis. The CDC says that increasing the availability of overdose-reversal drug naloxone, better access to treatment and mental health services, creating programs to screen for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, and prescription monitoring services for doctors could all help to lower the death toll of the opioid epidemic.
Thousands of Americans are killed every year as a result of opioid overdoses. Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has experienced an epidemic of opioid deaths caused by the over-promotion of these medications and their indiscriminate use by physicians. If you have lost a loved one to an overdose caused by prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, or morphine, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer or the doctor or hospital that prescribed the medication.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of opioid overdose victims and their families. Our firm has filed more lawsuits involving the fentanyl pain patch than all other law firms in the U.S. – combined. Our lawyers have also filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of victims who were harmed by complications from other opioid medications, including victims of a combined drug overdose caused by the interaction of opioids with other CNS depressant medications.
For more information about the opioid overdose lawsuits filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson and to find out whether you may qualify to file a case, contact our office by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by completing the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.