According to a news report, there is a movement afoot in Naperville intended to warn residents of the risk of addiction to prescription painkillers. The movement is being led by two local non-profit organizations, with the cooperation of the Naperville Police Department and local teen activists.
The awareness campaign will kick off with teenagers passing out brochures and flyers at Naperville pharmacies, libraries, and community centers. The informational materials will explain the risk of addiction to prescription painkillers while simultaneously reminding residents of Naperville’s “drug drop boxes.” The drop boxes have been placed in the city’s fire stations and are designed to encourage residents to dispose of unused prescription painkillers. In just 18 months, the drop boxes have been filled with over 1,000 pounds of unused prescription medications.
Naperville’s effort to alert residents to the dangers of prescription drugs comes on the heels of a report issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency about the addiction risks associated with prescription medications. According to the report, the interplay between prescription drugs and heroin addiction is the single most “significant concern” in the fight against substance abuse across the nation. Approximately 120 people die each day in America from overdoses.
According to the article, a prominent local doctor specializing in addiction believes that Naperville’s recent efforts to educate the city’s residents about prescription drugs are already paying dividends. The expert cautioned, however, that doctors need to be educated as well about the dangers of overprescribing pain medication and the need to ensure that patients are acutely aware of the risk of addiction.
Doctors May Be Liable For Prescribing Inappropriate Medication
Patients place a lot of trust in their doctors. In order to ensure that they receive the safest and most effective treatment available, they reveal their most private information to their physicians. What may seem like an insignificant detail to a lay person may be of great importance to a doctor.
This is why doctors ask so many questions of their patients. It is important that they have general information about family medical histories and prior medical conditions, as well as more sensitive information, such as if a patient has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or even a problem with prescription painkillers in the past.
Most patients are willing to share this information with their physicians because they believe it will result in the best treatment possible. A problem may arise, however, if a doctor fails to ask specific questions about a patient’s medical history, or if a physician does not carefully review all of the information in a patient’s chart, especially if there is any indication of a history of addiction to recreational or prescription medication noted in the file.
A doctor’s failure to know of or fully appreciate information about a patient’s past may be catastrophic. Perhaps a patient is prescribed pain pills that are dangerous for someone with the patient’s medical history, and the patient becomes addicted to the medication. Perhaps then the patient loses his job, requires medical treatment that is not covered by health insurance, or is severely injured while driving under the influence of the medication.
In these cases, a doctor may be liable to a patient for damages as long as the doctor’s failure to take into account the patient’s full medical history was a cause of his injuries. In Illinois, doctors are required to act with reasonable care in the treatment of their patients. This means that they must act with the same level of care that other doctors practicing in their specialty of medicine would use under similar circumstances. A failure to act in accordance with these standards is called medical malpractice or negligence.
Are Your Injuries the Result of a Doctor’s Carelessness?
If you visited your doctor for some sort of treatment, your goal was most certainly to get healthy again. Most likely, you told your doctor everything you could think of to ensure that you received the best treatment available, even if it meant revealing your most personal information. Despite your trust, if for any reason you believe that you did not receive competent care, and that a doctor’s carelessness has caused you to suffer in any way, we may be able to help. The lawyers at Moll Law Group know what information a doctor must consider when formulating a treatment plan, and when a doctor has failed a patient in this regard. For a free consultation, call Moll Law Group at (312) 462-1700.
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One Person Killed, Eight Injured In Accident on Interstate 57, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, November 17, 2015.