In its ongoing series, A More Perfect Union, CBS News detailed the story of four women from Martinsburg, West Virginia, helping to fight the opioid epidemic plaguing their community. Hit hard by the epidemic, West Virginia leads the nation in opioid overdose fatalities and has often been called “ground zero” for the opioid crisis in the country.
All four women have been affected by the opioid crisis in some way, according to the report. One lost two-family members to overdoses, two others have children trying to stay clean, and another struggled with substance abuse herself. Together, the women call themselves The Hope Dealers, working hard to get those dealing with drug addiction into treatment programs.
The group came together at a support meeting for those affected by prescription medication and street drugs. The women described their connection as an instant coming together, a bond forged by the heartbreak of a national health crisis touching communities across the country.
"So what the hope dealers bring to the table is: here's an option for treatment, here's an option for you to make a choice to get help. And they're taking it," one told CBS News.
Experts attribute several factors to the cause of the epidemic, including regressing economic opportunities, poverty cycles, and an influx of power opioid medications being pushed on patients by big drug companies. In the last two decades, doctors began examining pain as a vital sign and treating it as a long-term condition with drugs like OxyContin, which carry risks of addiction.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, developed the opioid medication as a pain management treatment for terminal cancer patients and those with short-term pain. However, the company soon began and aggressive marketing campaign targeting doctors to increase sales of the drug for “off-label” purposes.
Although drug companies can only market drugs for conditions approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), doctors have more flexibility to prescribe medications to treat conditions not listed on the label. By convincing doctors OxyContin was a safe, long-term pain management drug with little risk for dependency, drug companies saw their profits explode over recent years.
Unfortunately, the tens of billions of dollars companies like Purdue Pharma took in came with an unbelievable human cost. In just two years, over 60,000 people have died to an opioid-related overdose, many of whom developed their drug habits while being prescribed OxyContin for minor pain.
At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our painkiller drug overdose lawyers believe these powerful drug companies need to be held accountable for the pain and suffering caused to patients who had no idea their medication could lead to drug addiction. Our office is currently investigating claims on behalf of family members who lost a loved one due to drug overdoses after being prescribed OxyContin and other opioid drugs.
If your family lost a loved one due to a drug overdose after becoming addicted to their prescription painkillers, you may have legal rights to hold the drug companies accountable. Contact The Cochran Firm, D.C, by calling 1-800-THE FIRM (843-3476) or filling out an online contact form with the details of your case.
The consultation is free and confidential. Our personal injury attorneys in Washington DC understand these are delicate matters and will work tirelessly to represent your family with dignity and respect. Furthermore, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning we do not charge any upfront fees or collect any money until we win your case.
Let our attorneys get your family the justice you deserve.