The opioid crisis is one that has hit Ohio hard. There are many people now dealing with an opioid addiction who may have been struggling to deal with pain or other medical issues in the past.
Overprescribing opiate drugs was the main cause of this epidemic, and medical negligence or malpractice may have played a part as well. Some medical providers offered opiates to patients because of the benefits and kickbacks they’d receive, which is, often, illegal. Others believed that these pain killers weren’t as dangerous or addictive as they later turned out to be, which is why pharmaceutical companies did face lawsuits in the recent years.
Ohio now has prescribing guidelines for opiates. These guidelines are in place to help prevent people from taking, and becoming addicted, to opiates unnecessarily. Ohio is investing around a billion dollars per year in fighting addiction and drug abuse, so it is hoped that these guidelines will help prevent further issues from forming.
What are Ohio’s opiate prescribing limits?
In Ohio, the prescribing limits state that adults may receive no more than seven days of opiates at one time. For minors, no more than five days of opiates are allowed to be prescribed.
Patients who need more than this can get it, but only if the medical provider gives a specific reason, such as a recent surgery or severe illness, in the patient’s medical records. The hope is that doing this will help guarantee that only those who require opiate drugs for severe pain will receive them.
Do the guidelines apply to all patients?
No, and there are good reasons for that. Some patients do require opiate drugs for end-of-life, palliative, hospice, medication-assisted or cancer treatment. For instance, a cancer patient may be able to obtain more than the average of 30 morphine equivalent doses each day to help ease their pain, particularly in cases of terminal illness.
What should you do if you or a loved one is addicted to opiates after having them overprescribed?
If you were given opiates under the impression that they were safe, not addictive or otherwise harmless, you may be able to make a medical malpractice claim. Every case is different, so it’s smart to get to know your legal options before making your claim.