If a Loved One Overdosed on Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, or Vicodin, Would You Know What to Do?
September 28, 2014, hundreds of “Fed Up!” family members and friends marched toward the White House to protest the number of people dying from prescription drug overdoses in this country, Washington Post reported.
One hundred people die from an opioid overdose each day, per the CDC. About five Ohioans overdose each day, according to Healthy Ohio.
In 2013, the president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) told mcclatchydc.com that these statistics amount to a “public health emergency.” PROP and Fed Up! urged the FDA to reclassify hydrocodone as a schedule II drug, so patients would have to see their doctor every 30 days for a refill. October 24, 2013, the FDA announced that it would begin the process in December. But the very next day, the agency announced that it had approved an extended-release hydrocodone product called Zohydro.
“It’s a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule,” PROP’s president told CNN. “It will kill people as soon as it’s released.”
November 22, Congress Stephen F. Lynch and other members sent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter asking her to review the matter.
More than two years ago, CBS News said “the Obama administration is ‘laser-focused’ on stopping [opioid overdoses].” But, WP said last week, “The increasingly activist groups of grieving parents and bereaved spouses, doctors, drug-treatment counselors and researchers blame the Obama administration and federal regulators for failing to curb lucrative pharmaceutical industry efforts to expand the use of narcotic painkillers, known as opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.”
New Study Says People Unprepared for Prescription Drug Overdose
“Although teens and young adults who abuse prescription painkillers face a high risk of overdose, most don’t know how to respond when one occurs,” WebMD reported October 2.
One researcher said part of the problem is that study participants assumed that since Vicodin and Oxycontin are prescribed by a doctor, they aren’t dangerous.
However, “nearly all of those interviewed said they knew someone who had experienced a fatal or nonfatal overdose, or had experienced an overdose themselves,” the article stated.
Earlier this year, NY Times contributer and ER doctor Robert S. Hoffman said overdoses usually occur over a one- to three-hour time span, and the person is usually thought to be sleeping. A shot of naloxone could prevent such a death.
The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health both began offering free naloxone kits on Fridays last year, per The Plain Dealer. Both facilities offer training on how to use them, and the Board of Health’s kit comes with a step-by-step DVD. Naloxone only helps those who’ve overdosed on prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin, Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Vicodin. “It has no affect on those who overdose on cocaine, methamphetamines or alcohol,” writer Diane Suchetka said.
If you believe a doctor overprescribed an opioid to a loved one who overdosed, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation before Ohio’s statute of limitations expires on your potential claim. You may also download Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide, Your Ohio Medical Malpractice Questions Answered, read testimonials, and learn about previous case results.