Oregon residents rely on medical professionals for their good health. If you sustained injuries in a car crash, had surgery or experienced another medical event, a healthcare practitioner may have prescribed pain medication. We often represent clients suffering from the consequences of medication errors.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that adverse drug events are among the most common preventable events in healthcare, causing nearly 100,000 hospitalizations each year. Medication-related errors can cause varying degrees of patient harm, from addiction and organ damage to death.

Prescription opioids

Prescription drugs with properties found in the opium poppy plant, including those made in a lab, carry the opioid classification. Your healthcare professional might prescribe these drugs for a broad range of issues, from treating moderate or severe pain to diarrhea and coughing, depending on your situation. Some of the most common opioid drugs include the following:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxymorphone

These drugs activate pain and pleasure receptors on cells in your spinal cord, brain and other organs. They block pain signals and release dopamine, known as the feel-good neurotransmitter. The chemical reinforces the need to take more of the drug and repeat the experience.

Adverse effects

Opioid medication errors can cause addiction, making you dependent on the drug. This can result in severe behavior changes affecting your relationships with friends and loved ones as well as job performance. Drug-related errors include ordering or dispensing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. These errors are medical malpractice as the healthcare practitioner, whether a nurse, doctor, pharmacist or other medical professionals, failed to meet the accepted standard of care.