Accidental poisoning is now a major cause of death

If you live in Louisiana, you're more likely to be killed through accidental poisoning than in a car accident. In fact, the margin between the two isn't even close thanks to the ongoing opioid epidemic and the number of drug overdoses in the state.

That's the latest word from the medical toxicologists at the Louisiana State University New Orleans School of Public Health. According to Dr. James Diaz, who is the Head of Environmental & Occupational Health at the school, "Deaths from drugs...opioids, prescribed and illicit, far exceed motor vehicle deaths."

Part of the problem is that many long-term pain patients who have been squeezed out of treatment after becoming addicted are now turning to the streets to get drugs. That puts them at risk of picking up drugs that have been contaminated with high-powered drugs like fentanyl and overdosing. So, even though fewer people in Louisiana are now being prescribed opioids, the death toll keeps rising.

Right now, two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in the state involve opioids, making Louisiana the "epicenter" for drug deaths in the country. According to Dr. Diaz, the entire country's pipeline for illicit drugs is coming right through the state on I-10 and I-12.

Historically, it's been difficult to hold anyone accountable for drug overdoses -- but that may be changing where opioids are concerned. Lawsuits against doctors and drug manufacturers alike are stacking up around the country, and the courts are increasingly likely to hold doctors and drug companies alike for creating addictions in the first place through a combination of personal injury and product liability claims.

If your loved one died as a result of a prescription drug overdose, it may be time to explore your legal options.

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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