Those who follow substance use disorder trends in the U.S. are well aware of the opioid crisis that has upended the lives of countless Americans. However, for those not as familiar with this decades-old crisis, an estimated 2.7 million Americans abuse opioids and roughly 90 Americans overdose on the drug daily.
To say these statistics are sobering would be a gross understatement, but it accurately encapsulates the opioid problem that has invaded our great nation’s urban, suburban, and rural communities. Indeed, the opioid crisis has touched many lives and has left no stone unturned in America. However, this tragedy did not happen overnight; it has been decades in the making.
The Decade-Old Opioid Crisis
In the 1990s, physicians were prescribing opioids in a manner that was nothing short of reckless abandon. In 2010, heroin became a problem, with the powerful, street-level drug contributing to countless overdose deaths involving opioids.
Given that more than 2 million Americans are currently abusing opioids, and some 90 of them are overdosing and dying from the drug daily, it is reasonably safe to say the opioid crisis is still a chronic and pervasive problem in this country.
The Startling Relationship Between Opioid Use Disorders and Crime in America
As the name might suggest, an opioid use disorder refers to the willful misuse of prescribed opioid medications, diverted opioid medications, or street-level opioids, such as heroin. In any of these varying forms, opioid use disorders (OUDs) have contributed to a significant spike in crime throughout the United States.
One of those studies comes from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a reporting system that all U.S. law enforcement agencies use to collect and report incidents of crimes. According to the study data, between 2005 and 2016, incident rates of opioid-related crimes jumped from roughly 30% to well over 90%.
Researchers also added that most of America’s current struggles with opioids are the result of physicians at one time prescribing the drugs to patients who should have never been on them in the first place. If you are unsure whether you have an eligible case, a White Law opioid crisis attorney can review your case.
How to Determine if You Are Eligible for Compensation in the Case of an Opioid Crisis
As the study from the NIBRS notes, many people began their opioid use disorder by taking prescription opioids prescribed to them by a licensed physician, essentially following doctor’s orders. Some of these opioid-based drugs included the following:
Individuals who currently or have at one time had a problem with these and other prescription opioid drugs prescribed by a physician might be eligible for compensation. Granted, being awarded damages in a court case won’t necessarily make up for having one’s life, not to mention the lives of their friends and family, completely turned upside down, but it is a start.
Individuals who have suffered any of the following as a result of being prescribed opioid-based drugs, absent a medical need to be on them, may be eligible for compensation:
- Death of a family member that stems from an opioid use disorder
- Divorce or dissolution of marriage
- Loss of custody of children
- Loss of income
- Rehabilitation costs
Many law firms are also willing to help clients pursue compensation if any of the following stems from taking opioid drugs prescribed by a licensed physician:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Therapy costs to overcome the psychological aspects of addiction recovery
- Trauma resulting from drug addiction
Seek Legal Help From a Lawyer
While you might not have much recourse if your struggles with addiction stem from the use of diverted or street-level opioids, such is not the case if prescription opioids are to blame.
If any of the information in this article resonates with you, and you would like to learn more about pursuing compensation in a court of law, consider speaking with an opioid crisis attorney today.