Written by: Charles A. Dorminy, Esq. A report released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention July 6, 2017, shows that the opioid epidemic is still raging. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/opioids/index.html The report showed that providers in the highest prescribing counties prescribed six times more opioids per person than the lowest prescribing counties in 2015. Half of US counties had a decrease in the amount of opioids (MME*) prescribed per person from 2010 to 2015. The MME prescribed per person in 2015 was about three times as high as in 1999. Counties covering the majority of Eastern Tennessee and Northern Alabama appear to be tops on the list. According to the report, the amount of opioids prescribed per capital in those counties were in the highest range, from 959 to 5,543 MME, morphine milligram equivalents. This calculation is a way to calculate the total amount of opioids, accounting for differences in…       Read More

Written by: Jeffery R. Saxby, Esq. A St. Louis (MO) jury recently spotlighted the considerable danger associated with opioid injury or death litigation – a jury’s potential imposition of exorbitant punitive damage awards as an effort to cure a perceived social ill.  Healthcare providers and medical facilities must institute and follow specific practices and procedures in an effort to protect and insulate themselves from the threat of runaway juries assessing ridiculously high compensatory and punitive damage awards. Fertile Ground for Liability Let’s face facts, the opioid epidemic has caught physicians and medical facilities unprepared.  Due to a lack of preparedness and training, physicians who have prescribed opioids for pain management are facing liability both for prescribing too much as well as too little.  The new wave of opioid related litigation not only arises from physical injuries or death associated with the use of opioids, but is increasingly arising from reported…       Read More

Written by: Jacob H. Raehn, Esq. Why are Government Organizations “Targeting” Physicians? Short answer: Law enforcement is seeking to stop the Opioid-abuse epidemic at the source.[1] Long answer: Opioids are the apex predators of the substance abuse world, and they are not choosy about their victims. This includes both prescription drug and street drug abuse. Moreover, prescription opioid addiction often spirals quickly to street drug versions of the same. If you have ever contemplated how someone goes from being a law-abiding citizen with chronic back pain, to picking up a needle to inject heroin into their arm, or the spaces between their fingers and toes, prescription opioids are often how it starts.[2] “Drug poisoning deaths are currently at their highest ever recorded level, and every year since 2009, drug poisoning deaths have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide.”[3] In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day…       Read More

Doctors are facing greater scrutiny for injuries and deaths related to opioids, which have been increasing at an exponential rate, and now is the time to act. Don’t wait until you are served with a lawsuit to evaluate the policies and procedures of your practice. Our Opioid Defense Task Force has the expertise to help you identify areas of vulnerability, and the experience to help you implement policies to reduce your exposure. The Opioid Epidemic According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999.[1]Fatal overdoses arenot the only risk related to prescription pain medications. Misuse, abuse, and opioid use disorder (addiction) are also potential dangers. Notably, these injuries and deaths are not confined to those people who may fit the stereotype of a drug addict. To the contrary, the CDC reports that an estimated 1 in 5 patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses are…       Read More