As of 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially
declared that prescription drug abuse in the United States as an epidemic.
Overdose fatalities involving prescription opioid analgesics – medications
used to treat pain – have increased to nearly 17,000 deaths annually
in the country.
According to the National Safety Council, drug overdoses cause more deaths
than car crashes. Furthermore, prescription painkillers contribute to
more deaths than any other type of drugs.
What are Opioids?
Most narcotic pain medications are made from opium, which is the natural
ingredient found in heroin – one of the most addictive drugs in
the world. The main natural narcotic pain medications are codeine and
morphine, and the major synthetic opioids are OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet,
The primary issue with addiction is that a patient who is addicted cannot
stop taking the medication. While many people can break the habit, other
can’t do it by themselves.
Can I Sue My Doctor for Opiate Addiction?
When it comes to prescribing medication, doctors owe their patients a specific
standard of care. If they fall below that duty and patients are harmed,
doctors can be held liable for making their patients addicted to opioids.
Medical malpractice can be caused by a wide variety of actions or inactions on the part of
healthcare providers; however, the main cause of medical malpractice always
comes down to negligence. In an opiate addiction case, you must demonstrate
that something about your physician’s drug prescription (i.e. type
of drug, dosage, and failure to notice your growing addiction) was a breach
of the duty of care which was due to you as a patient.
The following are the four elements which must be proven in all medical
- Your doctor owed you a duty of care
- Your doctor breached that duty by failing to exercise reasonable care
- This failure to exercise care, or breach, resulted in your harm
- The harm refers to an actual injury and to compensability, which means
the monetary damages
Your attorney must obtain all of your medical records relating to the treatment
in question and will, most likely, hire a medical expert witness to thoroughly
review your records and offer an opinion as to whether the doctor was
negligent. A qualified medical expert is often a physician who is in the
same field as the potential defendant in a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a doctor who has been negligent,
contact our Florida medical malpractice attorney at
David C. Rash P.A. and request a
case evaluation today.