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Best Treatment for Opioid Addiction from Medical Malpractice

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For anyone whose doctor may have overprescribed opioids, causing them to develop an opioid addiction, getting treatment to overcome that addiction should be priority number one. However, it is important to note that you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim in New Jersey if your doctor got you hooked on opioids.

Any doctor negligently overprescribing opioids may be liable for harm associated with a patient’s subsequent opioid addiction. Therefore, compensation for your claim will ultimately hinge on a medical malpractice attorney being able to prove that negligence factors into the overprescription that led to your opioid addiction.

The New Jersey opioid overprescription lawyers at Richard J. Hallowell and Associates have expert experience in opioid addiction cases. They care about fighting for your rights and seeing you beat this terrible addiction. Read on for suggestions on the best treatment for opioid addiction in New Jersey.

A History of America’s Opioid Crisis

Throughout the 1990s, the pharmaceutical industry duped America’s doctors into believing that prescription opioids were safe painkillers that would not cause addiction. Doctors started prescribing opioids to help patients manage pain such as pain from a slip and fall accident. Some of the most common natural opioids prescribed during that time were codeine and morphine. Common synthetic opioids included OxyContin, Dilaudid, Percocet, and Vicodin.

Today, according to the CDC, nearly 75% of all drug overdoses in the country involve an opioid. Moreover, from 2019 to 2020, opioid-involved death rates increased by 38%, prescription opioid-involved death rates increased by 17%, and synthetic opioid-involved death rates (excluding methadone) increased by 56%.

Opioid use disorders affect over 2.1 million in the United States, and there are over 120,000 annual wordlwide deaths attributed to opioids. Many of those suffering from opioid use disorder became hooked after being prescribed opioids by a doctor.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the United States has an opioid crisis on its hands. According to the Pew Research Center, opioid overdose, dependence, and misuse account for $35 billion in healthcare costs alone. In addition, it costs $14.8 billion in criminal justice and $92 billion in productivity losses. Because of the opioid crisis, many states have enacted laws that limit the amount of prescription opioids that doctors can prescribe legally.

Effective Medications for Opioid Addiction from Medical Malpractice

Some available effective medications that can help those who suffer from opioid use disorder include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. However, medications alone cannot help someone overcome opioid addiction from medical malpractice.

Most experts agree that medications used to treat opioid use disorder should be taken in conjunction with behavioral counseling. This type of holistic approach to opioid addiction is called MAT, which stands for Medication Assisted Treatment, and it is the best treatment for opioid addiction from medical malpractice.

Studies have shown that this approach helps to decrease opioid use, opioid overdose deaths, disease transmission, and criminal activity. MAT has also been proven to increase treatment retention and social functioning. For example, patients with opioid use disorder treated with MAT remained in therapy longer than those who received behavioral treatment without medication.

Opioid Addiction Caused by a Doctor’s Negligence

There are, of course, legitimate reasons why a doctor may prescribe opioid medications to a patient. To prove negligence in an opioid medical malpractice case, your attorney must prove the following: 

  • The doctor owed a duty of care through a patient-doctor relationship.
  • The duty of care was breached through a prescription that another doctor, under similar circumstances, wouldn’t have prescribed.
  • That prescription resulted in the patient’s dependence on opioids, caused them injury, or was a contributing factor in their death.
  • The negligence and subsequent dependence caused harm, including job loss, health issues, personal family losses, and financial losses, including medical and rehab expenses.

Any healthcare professional can be negligent in overprescribing opioids; typically, the case will relate to the duty of care doctrine.

For example, a pharmacist who prescribes opioids without considering the patient’s medical history could be sued for medical malpractice. Similarly, a doctor who wrongly prescribes opioids, or has overprescribed an opioid by giving a higher dosage than is necessary, could also be sued for medical malpractice. They can also be found negligent if they fail to consider any history of addiction before prescribing opioids.

It is also important to note that healthcare providers must take action when they notice a patient developing a dependency on opioids.

Contact a New Jersey Opioid Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has developed an opioid addiction after being prescribed opiate painkillers by a New Jersey doctor, a medical malpractice claim may be warranted. An opioid malpractice lawyer can help you file a claim to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain & suffering, lost income, or other damages if there is evidence that your healthcare provider was negligent.

Call the New Jersey opioid malpractice professionals at Richard J. Hallowell at 1-800-681-3550 or click here for a free case evaluation.

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