The Opioid Epidemic

Posted on Jun 13, 2017

Death rates are on the rise for people in all ethnic groups, between the ages of 25 and 44; so much so that the Washington Post's Express is calling this trend an epidemic. Mortality data reveals that the increase "has been driven in large measure by drug overdoses and alcohol abuse." According to the chief of mortality statistics for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the trends are continuing upward.

Opioids for this generation are what crack and HIV were to those coming of age in the 90s. This mortality spike is most seriously affecting 33 states, particularly those in New England and the Rust Belt. According to a story in the New York Times last January, 33,000 people died due to opioid drug use (including heroin) in 2015. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has also caused death at an alarming rate: 220 people in Long Island alone in 2016.

In fact, in our D.C. medical malpractice cases, we've seen the devastating injuries caused by fentanyl administered by a doctor in a hospital.

A study quoted by US News says that millenials are most susceptible to opioid abuse and they are getting the pills by purchasing them from somebody with a legitimate prescription or obtaining them fraudulently by exaggerating their pain symptoms to a doctor (or many doctors). Opioids are most often known as prescription drugs like Oxycoton and Oxycodone. These are prescribed to help manage pain and are extremely addictive. 

We see a lot of opioid prescriptions for work injuries, and many injured workers need these to control their pain to keep working, or simply to function. But, the problem with narcotic pain relievers is that one builds up a tolerance and they become less effective over time. If the pain level is the same, one would need to take more narcotics in order to achieve the same results. This is how addiction and overdose happen.

The science of pain managment has come a long way. Rather than just issuing pills, there are many options people can choose to try to get their pain under control. Some of these options include epidural steriod injections, trigger-point injections, massage, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, hot and cold therapy, spinal cord stimulators, surgery, topical compound pain relievers, and even NSAID and acetaminophine pain relievers.

If you are using narcotic meds to manage your pain, be sure that you are aware of all of the risks. If you have had a serious work-related injury or another type of serious accident and are not sure how to manage your pain or what you need to do, please call us.

We only represent people - never insurance companies, corporations or hospitals.  You will speak with a real person today, with no risk and for no obligation. Call 202-393-3320 and send us an email at [email protected]