Should Doctors be Held Liable for Overprescribing Pain Medication?

New Hampshire is one of the states that have been hit the hardest by the opioid crisis. Drug deaths have increased 140% in New Hampshire between 2000 and 2015. The state has been proactive in its response to this situation by allocating additional funding to the opioid crisis. Additionally, cities like Manchester have created safe stations to limit the amount of deaths related to opiates. A question that is sometimes posed is can a doctor can be held liable for prescribing painkillers? Doctors need to find a delicate balance between providing pain relief and not overprescribing narcotic medications after surgery or other bodily injuries. However, the medications that are effective in dealing with pain can also lead to addiction if not properly prescribed.

Why Do People Get Addicted to Pain Medication?

Most pain medications are made from opium, which is a natural ingredient in heroin, which, of course, is usually prescribing after a back surgery or other injury. Other synthetic opioids that can be prescribed include Percocet, Vicodin or oxycodone.

The Problem

The problem occurs after the individual heals from the back surgery or other painful injury. Sometimes, the patient will become addicted to the medication and move on to street drugs such as heroin or fentanyl.

Who’s fault is this? The patient? The drug company? The doctor? In order to prove that a medical provider failed to exercise the degree of care and skill that a healthcare provider is expected to exercise, you will need an expert medical testimony from a doctor practicing in the same field to evaluate whether the doctor failed to meet the standard of care. Other evidence that will be considered is the patient’s medical history, diagnosis complaints, length of treatment, and the amount of painkillers prescribed to the patient.