Unintentional poisonings are the leading cause of accidental death in both the U.S. and Fort Worth, TX. Unintentional poisonings cause more deaths than car crashes and other accidents. However, overdoses are not the only injuries that can result from opioid use. Drugs in the opioid family can cause addiction, birth defects, and digestive problems.
After you suffer opioid injuries in Forth Worth, Texas, you may have a legal claim. Similarly, you may also have a claim when someone else uses opioids and injures you. The Fort Worth opioid injuries attorneys at Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, can identify your options and help you fight for fair compensation based on the injuries you suffered.
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How Stephens Law Firm, PLLC Can Help After an Opioid Injury In Fort Worth, TX
Since 2003, Stephens Law Firm, PLLC has helped injured clients in Fort Worth, Texas, fight against those who harmed them. Our Fort Worth product liability lawyers have over 25 years of combined legal experience and have recovered over $100 million for the firm’s clients since its founding.
After you or a loved one suffers a Fort Worth opioid injury, our attorneys provide the following:
- A thorough analysis of your legal rights to identify all possible sources of compensation
- Aggressive negotiation to try to settle your claim quickly and fairly
- Fearless litigation to stand up to at-fault parties, including billion-dollar companies
An opioid injury can cause disabling or even fatal injuries. Contact Stephens Law Firm, PLLC to discuss the Fort Worth opioid injuries you or your loved one suffered and the legal claims you can assert.
How Many People Suffer Opioid Injuries in Forth Worth, TX?
Injury and death statistics show the severity of the opioid epidemic across Texas, including Fort Worth. The average American has a higher lifetime risk of dying of an opioid overdose than any other type of accident, including traffic crashes, falls, and drownings.
Roughly 29% of unintentional deaths in Texas resulted from opioid overdoses in 2020, less than two percentage points behind motor vehicle crashes. The number jumped 27% since 2020 to become the leading cause of unintentional death in Texas.
Nearly 9,100 people visited Texas emergency rooms in 2021 due to an opioid-related injury. Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth, had the second-highest number of emergency visits for opioid injuries in the state that year.
What Are Opioids and Opioid Injuries?
The poppy plant produces colorful flowers and edible seeds. Depending on the method of harvesting them, these parts of the plant have little to none of the active ingredients in opium. Manufacturers derive opium from the latex in the pod of poppy plants. This sticky substance contains opium alkaloids used to produce drugs.
Opiates refer to natural products derived from the poppy plant, including opium, heroin, codeine, and morphine. Laboratories also produce synthetic opioids like oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone without using any natural ingredients.
Opioids refer to both natural opiates and synthetic opioids. Thus, opioid injuries can happen as a result of natural drugs like codeine or synthetic drugs like oxycodone.
These drugs work by plugging into the neurotransmitter receptors, called opioid receptors, in the nervous system. Nerve cells, including your brain cells, use neurotransmitters to send messages. When opioids plug into these receptors, they cannot receive messages carried by naturally produced neurotransmitters.
This effect has significant benefits. Opioids block pain signals from your body. This effect also causes harmful changes in your body.
The neural pathways clogged by the opioids also carry signals for functions such as:
Opioids trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine when they plug the opioid receptors. Dopamine produces a sense of euphoria and reward. These experiences cause the brain to chase the sensation, leading to an emotional dependence on opioids. Ceasing use of them causes a cascade of withdrawal symptoms, causing physical dependence.
Common Opioid Injuries
Some opioid injuries result from the overuse of opioids. During an overdose, breathing slows or stops. Large doses of opioids can also deprive the user of muscle control to clear their airway. As a result, they can choke on vomit or even their tongue.
In either case, just five minutes with low or no oxygen causes permanent brain damage. Ten minutes causes brain death. This means the person has no brain function, even if someone revives them.
Opioid use disorder causes a physical and emotional dependence on opioids. As a result, the person can suffer from mood and emotional disorders triggered by long-term use. This includes sleep disorders, emotional instability, and angry outbursts.
Other opioid injuries happen when someone using opioids injures others. Opioids impair judgment and reflexes. Someone using opioids can cause workplace accidents or car crashes due to reduced alertness. Additionally, opioid use during pregnancy may produce birth defects.
Liability For Opioid Injuries
When someone using opioids causes your injuries, they bear the liability for your losses. But both victims and opioid users may also have a product liability claim against drug manufacturers. These companies allegedly misled doctors and patients about the effects of these products, including the risk of addiction.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Fort Worth Product Liability Lawyers
Opioid injuries in Fort Worth, Texas, can include digestive and circulatory problems, long-term dependence, and death. Contact Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation with our Fort Worth product liability lawyers. Our legal team can discuss the opioid injuries you or a loved one suffered and your options for seeking financial compensation.