What Caused the Opioid Epidemic?

This video features Wayne D. Parsons, a Medical Malpractice attorney based in Hawaii.

Video Transcript:

Judy Maggio:

Do you know what caused the opioid crisis? We asked Hawaii lawyer Wayne Parsons for this AskTheLawyers™ Quick Question.

Wayne Parsons:

The medical profession had very strict standards for prescribing opioids; they prescribed them only for those acute situations—there was no long-term use of opioids. Then in the 1990s, a time-release version of opioids was created. That's when it all started. 

All of a sudden, doctors were being told it was okay to use an opioid for chronic pain, and chronic pain patients have a lot of problems and they are in need of help. This was a good thing for them, they thought, and the pharmaceutical industry marketed these products to doctors as less addictive, saying “Don't worry about the addiction and the abuse. These are different kinds of products and they're okay to prescribe for long-term use.” That's when it started.

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