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April 20, 2020
The Weitz Firm, LLC

Opioids are powerful drugs that provide temporary benefits for those in severe pain. However, we also know that people can become highly dependent on these drugs. Studies indicate that approximately 130 people die every day due to opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the total economic burden of opioid abuse in this country is around $80 billion a year. At the Weitz Firm, our Philadelphia opioid-related medical malpractice attorneys want to discuss some important factors related to preventing and treating opioid addiction.

Preventing opioid abuse

The medical community has become much more aware of their role in preventing opioid abuse. Arguably, the medical community played a large role causing the opioid addiction problem in this country. Doctors should explore a range of pain management options with patients that could be candidates for opioids. If these powerful drugs can be avoided, they should be.

Medical professionals need to discuss all side effects and concerns about these drugs with their patients. Importantly, doctors must regularly schedule follow up appointments with any patient on opioids to ensure they are using them appropriately.

Opioids are not meant for long-term use, and physicians should tailor a tempering-off program specific to every patient’s needs when working to discontinue opioid usage. Coming off of opioids too quickly could result in a patient seeking illegal drug usage.

What are treatment options for opioid abuse?

When working with patients who are addicted to opioids, there are several treatment options available for healthcare professionals to pursue for a patient. This could include the following (or a combination of the following):

  • Medicines
  • Behavioral therapies and counseling
  • Residential or hospital-based treatments
  • Medication-assisted therapy, which is considered a “whole patient” approach to opioid treatment.

When working to determine the best course of treatment for opioid-addicted patients, doctors need to realize that many of the medications used for treatment require continual patient monitoring. Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings of opioids, and naltrexone can be taken to help prevent a relapse.

When prescribing any medication, a medical professional must remain involved in a patient’s care. Treatment of opioid addiction is an ongoing process, and abandoning a patient while they are going through a difficult time could result in disastrous patient affects.

You may need an attorney for this case

If you or a loved one have dealt with opioid misuse or abuse issues, it may be the case that a medical professional was negligent when prescribing the medication to you. At the Weitz Firm, we want to help. Let us look into your medical history as well as the history of the medical provider who prescribed the opioids. If we discover that they have been negligent, we will work to secure compensation for your:

  • Medical costs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost income
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

We will even work to secure punitive damages in cases of gross negligence by the medical provider. When you need a Philadelphia opioid-related medical malpractice attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.

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