High-Profile, West Virginia attorney Steve Ruby discusses the opioid epidemic and the thousands of lawsuits that have resulted from it.
Roughly 130 Americans die from opioid overdose every day. Nearly 70 percent of drug overdose deaths are linked to opioids or other prescription drugs. The opioid epidemic in the United States is real, and hundreds of lawsuits are being filed as a result of it. Attorney Steve Ruby recently discussed this epidemic and what these lawsuits mean for the opioid users, drug companies, everyday citizens, and more.
Steve Ruby explains the root of the opioid epidemic is linked to physicians over-prescribing opioid pain medications. Amazingly, between the years of 1999 and 2014, prescriptions for opioids to relieve pain quadrupled. For years, there were no limits on how many opioid pills could be prescribed at one time. For instance, during this time, someone who broke their wrist may be prescribed 100 opioid pills when they only need 10 total. Steve Ruby explains this leads to an abundance of pills at home in the medicine cabinet and an obvious potential for using them in excess.
“The rise of the opioid epidemic across the country as led to thousands of lawsuits,” Attorney Steve Ruby says. “The legal claims are broad, ranging from deceptive marketing to over-prescription and more.”
The point, Steve Ruby says, is to hold pharmaceutical companies liable for what they’re pushing. He explains that these companies have been marketing opioids entirely incorrectly. Advertisements have been downplaying the risks of taking these opioids for pain relief, and drug distributors have been have been placing suspicious orders.
“It doesn’t come down to just one factor,” Steve Ruby Says. “It comes down to a multitude of factors that contribute to over-prescription, and in some cases, death.”
Attorney Steve Ruby explains the lawsuits have been put in place in attempt to repair what has progressively gone downhill since 1999. Steve Ruby states prescribing policies must be redesigned, legislation and regulation needs to be put in place, prescription drugs need to be monitored and reported, patients need to be educated, and so much more. He explains that collaborations between public safety and public health need to take place to combat this epidemic and return opioids to their original purpose of safely relieving pain.
Steve Ruby explains that there are so many lawsuits because there are so many parties at fault. The epidemic can be traced from individual patients to doctors to healthcare centers to pharmaceutical companies to politicians and more.
“This epidemic is not one that’s going to be easy to fight,” Steve Ruby says. “But, as lawyers, we’ll do our best to find justice for the people who have suffered at the hands of opioid use.”