PKSD Newsletter: Drug Company Profits Soar with Increased Opiate Abuse, Deaths
In this month’s issue of the PKSD Newsletter, the team of personal injury lawyers in our Milwaukee office discuss the shocking rise in opiate drug use throughout the country, which has also led to significant profits for drug companies.
Several recent high profile deaths and stories about prescription drug addiction have brought attention to the massive opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overdose deaths from prescription opiates has quadrupled since 1999, killing 14,000 people in 2014 alone.
Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in hospitals across the country for misusing and overdosing on prescription opioids.
Meanwhile, drug companies made an estimated $1.98 billion in 2014 on sales of opioids. They have also spent approximately $880 million since 2006 to fight proposed restrictions of opioid use.
Last year, 227 million prescriptions were issued for opioids in the U.S., making it the most prescribed medication in the nation and also making Americans the largest group of prescription opiate users in the world.
With drug companies solely focused on making a profit rather than ensuring the safe and effective use of their products, it is vital that patients understand how to protect themselves when dealing with serious pain.
Protect Yourself When Taking Pain Medication
Opioids, derived from the same poppy plant as heroin, are prescribed for a number of common conditions and effectively reduce the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain. However, over time, patients must take stronger and stronger doses to achieve the same results as when they first started taking the medication. Because of this, they can be highly addictive.
If you have suffered a serious injury and are in need of pain medication, you should seriously question whether or not you should begin taking prescription opiate pain killers. If you do choose to use this type of pain killer, you should:
- Provide your doctor with as much information as possible about your condition and overall health to ensure you are prescribed the right medication and the right dosage for your situation.
- Stay in touch with your doctor and inform him or her if you do not think the medication is working.
- Carefully follow the directions for taking your medication.
- Never use someone else’s prescription.
Learn more about the many dangers of opioid use in the U.S. in the PKSD newsletter. Subscribe today to receive future editions.