With overdose-related opioid deaths increasing at an alarmingly high rate within the past few years, many questions are being asked in regards to how it has gotten to this point, and what factors have contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic in the US.
Recently, there have been several pharmacies in various states across the US that have had legal claims filed against them due to their involvement in potentially enabling people’s addictions to opioids.
The Lawsuits Filed Against Chain Pharmacies In The US
Several prescription medication forms of opioids have been sold and distributed by chain pharmacies such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid in the states of New Hampshire and Ohio.
It is also expected that the lawsuits brought against these companies in these states will be nationally applicable as well.
As a result, lawsuits have been filed against the pharmacies in question, to attempt to get these companies to take some responsibility for their contribution to the opioid addiction crisis.
This, too, could potentially raise awareness about how this is negatively affecting people dealing with opioid use disorder.
The Different Types Of Prescription Medications For Treating Opioid Addiction
In 2020 it was estimated that at least 70,029 people died as a result of an opioid overdose, with this number increasing to 80,816 (according to data collected by the CDC).
Many of these deaths were the result of a synthetic opioid known as fentanyl, which is reported to be 50 to 100 times stronger than regular morphine (according to NIDA).
Fentanyl is a form of prescription medication painkiller that is used to help treat people experiencing severe pain and is typically only prescribed by doctors to people being treated for cancer or other severe ailments.
Elsewhere, other forms of prescription medications are used as opioid painkillers, but in a different way.
For instance, buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, meaning that it interacts with opioid receptors in the brain similarly, but is used to help people overcome opioid use disorder and for drug detoxification.
Prescription medications like buprenorphine are safe and effective if they are used according to doctor’s orders, but if they are misused, they can be extremely unsafe for people. This is why it is highly problematic that these drugs are available at chain pharmacies.
The Impact Of The Lawsuits
The lawsuits issued to the aforementioned pharmacies concluded that they had been selling and distributing large amounts of prescription medication opioids in the form of pain pills.
Some forms of these prescription drugs were then found to be sold on the black market.
Moreover, some of the lawsuits stated that there was a failure on the part of the pharmacies to recognize and identify any prescription orders that appeared to be suspicious, as well as a general failure to have systems in place to capture these instances.
It was also suggested that these companies attempted to hide their wrongdoings.
The companies issued statements saying that they merely issued the pain pills as per the prescriptions they received from people and that they considered the final decisions of these lawsuits to be inaccurate.
In particular, representatives from CVS remarked that the prescriptions were legally issued via doctors who were licensed by the DEA, and who regularly approve the issuance of drugs that are approved by the FDA, and which are used to help people who need them.
These lawsuits are reportedly set to be raised in other states within the US as the nation continues to understand and attempt to resolve the opioid addiction crisis.
For instance, there are expected to be lawsuits filed in the states of Washington and New York.
There are reportedly over 2000 cases that are similar to the aforementioned ones currently being brought against various pharmacies and dispensers of prescription medications across the US.
There are also separate lawsuits that will be filed to resolve the matter of how much these chain pharmacies will be expected to pay to attempt to reverse the damage caused by their contributions towards the opioid addiction crisis. It is estimated that these companies may have to pay millions of dollars.
What The Lawsuits Mean For The Opioid Addiction Crisis
With strict regulations existing for the prescription of opioid medication, lawsuits being brought against pharmacies may not necessarily have a positive impact on the overall crisis.
While it is important to hold companies accountable for their inaction and failures, it is also important to make sure that people are still receiving the help they need with OUD.
With overdose deaths continually rising, it is of the utmost importance that doctors and caregivers can get access to the prescription drugs they need to prescribe without being restricted by the law.
If they continue to be restricted, this will continue to have a dire effect on the people who need the help, as the doctors assisting them won’t be able to.
Getting Help With Opioid Addiction
Fortunately, there are many options available to the people who need it. Treatment for opioid addiction is split into several stages which help a person to deal with the physiological aspects of their addiction, as well as the psychological effects.
Treatment will usually begin with a medical detoxification process. This treatment will enable a person to remove all traces of opioids from their system, while under the careful supervision of a trained healthcare professional.
The individual will experience withdrawal symptoms but will be supported and cared for during the treatment.
Thereafter, the individual can then move into longer-term forms of treatment that involve therapy programs such as the 12-step program, group programs, or one-to-one style therapy and counseling sessions.
People who need help overcoming OUD will find that help is never too far away, and what’s more, it can be personalized and arranged in a way that suits that person best.
Their needs and requirements will be met, and they will be given the support they need while they complete their journey to a full recovery.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.