The National Safety Council’s (NSC) data shows that in 2016, 1,086 more Pennsylvania residents died accidentally. That amounts to a 15 percent increase in 2016 compared to 2015. About 78 percent of accidental deaths in 2016 were caused by opioid overdose. This data comes in the wake of NSC survey results that show Americans living in the Northeast have a better understanding of dealing with opioid crisis compared to those living in other parts of the United States.
Breadth of the Opioid Epidemic
In Pennsylvania, the opioid epidemic has already been declared a statewide disaster emergency by Governor Tom Wolf. NSC is currently involved in a national effort to help create awareness among Americans regarding the dangers of taking opioids. So, they have come up with a memorial exhibit, which essentially puts a face on the thousands who have lost their lives as the result of opioid overdose.
NSC’s campaign titled Stop Everyday Killers brings people closer to the crisis that has claimed so many lives in Pennsylvania. One in four in the state has been directly affected by opioids. The memorial encourages people to take two simple steps such as talking with their healthcare providers about the effects of opioids and cleaning out the medicine cabinets.
The memorial is basically a wall crafted out of 22,000 white pills. Each pill bears a face representing thousands of people who died as a result of prescription opioid overdose. An NSC survey shows that one in three Americans who are prescribed opioids don’t realize that the drug they are taking is actually an opioid.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?
There may be situations where the family of someone who has died from an opioid overdose may have a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim stems from the death of a person who died because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The negligence aspect in an opioid overdose death could involve a physician who negligently prescribed the opioid in question or a pharmacist who failed to inform a patient the right dosage to take. There may be other parties involved as well depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident.
In a wrongful death case, the decedent’s surviving relatives, dependents or beneficiaries may seek compensation for damages they have suffered as a result of the death. A Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney, while evaluating a case, will examine issues such as how long a person might have lived had he or she not died due to a wrongful cause and the types of monetary contributions he or she might have made to their family among other things.
When a defendant is found liable for wrongful death, he or she will be required to pay monetary damages to the survivors. Compensation in such cases could involve lost future income or benefits, medical expenses incurred by the victim when he or she was alive, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering endured by the victim before death and loss of love and companionship for the survivors. An experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer will be able to examine opioid overdose cases, which could be complicated, and advise families regarding their legal rights and options.