The Bernalillo County Commission is going forward with a lawsuit filed against more than one pharmaceutical company. Last week the commissioners meeting closed with a unanimous agreement to advance the process of to file a lawsuit.
According to the Commission chair Debbie O’Malley, there’s an opioid issue that’s causing a crisis in several communities throughout Bernalillo County. The county has experienced an increase of opioid-related crime. Although the commissioner’s office cannot hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the illegal actions of others, they can hold them accountable for misinforming users. The commissioner’s office is suing pharmaceutical companies, arguing that they use “misleading marketing practices.” They are claiming that drug companies fail to inform users about the addictive nature of opioids and proper dosage and usage instructions. According to Bernalillo County statistics, between 2013 and 2015 about 374 died from opioid overdoses.
Overdose Fatalities in New Mexico
Last year, New Mexico had 497 deaths from overdose, leading the western coast of the country with the most drug-induced fatalities. About three-fourths of those deaths in New Mexico involved opioids. According to the New Mexico State Health Department, there were at least 24.8 overdose deaths per 1,000 residents. Unintentional opioid overdose is also a recurring issue in New Mexico. In 2016, the number of accidental overdoses rose to 428 from 410 in 2015. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in New Mexico. (www.usnews.com)
Opioids are made in many different forms including, capsules, liquid, and pills. Its intended use is to alleviate severe pains and injuries. There are different variations of opioids including prescription, fentanyl, and heroin. Common types of prescription opioids are morphine, methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is a synthetic opioid. It is much stronger than traditional opioids. Fentanyl is prescribed to relieve extreme pain and in most cases used for pain related to cancer. Lastly, heroin is a highly addictive illegal opioid produced from morphine.
Overdose Statistics in the Country
Bernalillo County is not alone in their fight to combat the overdose crisis sweeping their area. The entire country is seeing a rise in overdose statistics. Last year, there were more than 59,000 deaths due to overdose, creating a drastic increase compared to previous years, according to the New York Times.
Specifically, opioid overdose deaths in the United States have soared at alarming rates over time. The number of opioid-induced deaths has quadrupled since 1999, and don’t show any signs of slowing down. In 2015, there were 33,091 recorded deaths relating to opioids. In the following year, the National Center for Health Statistics found opioid overdose rates to be the same or higher than in 2015. The health organization concluded that there were 19.9 overdose cases per 100,000 people during the first quarter of 2016, compared to 16.7 cases recorded during the previous year…
If you or someone you know is considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, the attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates can help: https://www.fergusonlaw.com