The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced several new initiatives
intended to target the opioid epidemic. One of the agency’s plans
aims to deter doctors from overprescribing the powerful drugs.
As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, opioids
are largely responsible for a surge in prescription drug overdoses in
recent years. Drug poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries
in the United States.
In addition, the number of drug fatalities involving opioid analgesics
more than tripled from about 4,000 in 1999 to 14,800 in 2008. To make
matters worse, recent reports suggest that doctors in California and across
the country are increasingly handing out prescriptions for potent opioids
like morphine and Oxycodone with little concern for patient safety, often
leading to serious addiction problems and death.
In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated label changes
for extended-release and long-acting opioid pain relievers. The new label
requirements were intended to encourage better prescribing habits by doctors
and curb abuse among patients.
reported by USA Today, the DOJ is now working to uncover links between physician overprescribing
and distribution networks located throughout the country. Under the new
plan, prosecutors will be encouraged to share information across state
lines about physicians' inappropriate prescribing practices, which
could aid in identifying traffickers and trafficking routes more quickly.
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a serious
medical mistake, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.