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Is Your Physician Legally Responsible for Your Opioid Addiction?

As the opioid epidemic reaches the forefront of political and media attention, some have started to ask whether prescribing physicians should bear some legal responsibility for the overwhelming cost of drug rehabilitation, and in the most tragic cases, overdose.  Currently, state attorneys general and some federal regulators are testing the waters of legal action against the pharmaceutical manufacturers of opiate-based drugs, like OxyContin (Purdue), for their role in possibly downplaying the risk of severe addiction and overdose. But these powerful drugs cannot be purchased over-the-counter, they must be prescribed by a physician.  And that is precisely why CNN recently reported that the federal Drug Enforcement Agency has seen an increase in indictments against physicians for patient overdoses related to their prescription pain-killers.  Normally, where there’s a criminal charge for second-degree murder then there’s a strong basis to investigate the merits of a civil lawsuit that compensates those struggling to overcome the effects of this crisis.  Personal injuries attorneys should consider exploring these claims.

— Scott M. Duxbury