Prescription drug overdose a major health problem

Fifty Americans die every day in the United States due to prescription pain killer overdose. This is a major health problem and is the number one cause of injury death. In fact prescription drug overdose has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death.

Since 1999, 16,000 Americans have died from prescription drug overdose, outnumbering the overdose deaths of heroin and cocaine.

In Washington state, the drug overdose mortality rate in 2010 was 13.1 per 100,000. To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place.

To combat this problem, Washington state has the following programs in place:

  • Prescription drug monitoring program – an electronic database which tracks prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs.
  • Doctor shopping law – a practice in which a patient visits multiple doctors and/or pharmacies to obtain controlled substances. Doctor shopping laws allow for the prosecution of people who obtain multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers.
  • Substance abuse treatment – expands Medicaid to cover substance abuse treatment and services.
  • Prescriber education – provides medical student education about the risk of prescription drug misuse.
  • Good Samaritan law – provides immunity from criminal charges or mitigating of a sentence for helping someone who is experiencing a drug overdose.
  • Support for Rescue Drug Use – provides access to and use of Naloxone which is a prescription drug that can save the lives of drug overdose victims.
  • Physical exam requirement – requires a patient to obtain a physical exam and have a genuine patient-doctor relationship prior to the obtaining a narcotic.
  • ID Requirement – requires or permits a pharmacist to ask for an identification card prior to dispensing a prescription of a controlled substance to reduce fraud.
  • Pharmacy lock-in – requires high users of controlled substances to use only one pharmacy or medical office.


Most physicians and pharmacist do an excellent job at prescribing and dispensing medications but there are some cases in which an individual is negligent and compromises the health and sometimes the life of their patients. In the case of a mistaken involving an incorrect medication, a wrong dosage or a lack of patient education, or the ignoring of signs of substance abuse, a physician or medical provider may fall below the standard of care and there may be ca cause for negligence.

If you or a loved one has overdosed on a prescription medication due to the negligence of a medical professional or medical malpractice, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. The Farber Law Group represents medical malpractice cases and me be of assistance to you. Contact us today for a free and confidential case consultation.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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