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DOJ Opioid Initiative to Crack Down on Overprescribing Doctors

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.

As 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.