Luke Bell, the renowned country music maestro, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Nearly a month after he went missing, his cause of death was finally revealed. An autopsy report showed traces of a fentanyl patch in his system, confirming the reason. Bell was found unresponsive by a passerby in a parking lot in Tucson, with drug paraphernalia on the scene. News reports have not commented on whether he held a prescription for fentanyl pain patches or otherwise.
The Rise of Fentanyl-Related Wrongful Deaths
The number of wrongful deaths caused by fentanyl overdose has increased in recent years. The stats are alarming, as more people lose loved ones. Approved by the FDA for pain relief, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with severe side effects when overdosed. The drug is drop for drop 100 times stronger than morphine. One of the reasons fentanyl-related deaths have exponentially increased is that initially fentanyl deaths were accidental overdoses of prescription patches, but in recent years, fentanyl is being illegally imported and sold as an illegal recreational drug, causing the fentanyl underground drug trade to skyrocket. The problem is that it can easily kill persons who have no idea that the “high” from fentanyl is ultra-dangerous, it can relax a person’s respiration while they sleep, leading to their “accidental” overdose death.
Statistically, fentanyl seems to be doing more harm than good. The DEA records show that there were 2,666 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2011; that number sharply rose to 71,238 in 2021. In Virginia, the first-quarter report shows 2,033 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2021. This is a 15% increase from the previous year. To put it in perspective, fentanyl is now responsible for over 89% of drug overdose deaths in Virginia. With these massive numbers, there is a need for action, and our law firm started ringing the alarm bells more than a decade ago. Losing a loved one with a valid prescription due to fentanyl, a drug that should be relieving pain, can be heartbreaking.
Our Virginia wrongful death attorneys have been helping families of victims for decades, and this includes fentanyl pain patch accidental overdose death cases. We understand the emotional and financial impact such cases can have and work to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. We have helped many families get monetary compensation for wrongful deaths caused by prescription fentanyl overdose as opposed to deaths from recreational use gone wrong.
Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Even though fentanyl is effective in treating chronic pain, it is 100 times stronger than morphine and even more powerful than heroin. Fentanyl is only prescribed for patients with chronic pain due to its potent effects, and the ease in which a valid prescription recipient can become confused about when to change out their pain patches. Some doctors prescribe fentanyl patches to patients with less painful conditions, like lower back pain. This is dangerous because fentanyl is too powerful for such cases. Fentanyl was associated with Tom Petty’s death, and with Michael Jackson’s death as well. The drumbeat of fentanyl causing accidental death is rising as drug cartels not only sell it, but have been reported to have “spiked” other recreational drugs with fentanyl as well.
Another reason why fentanyl is so dangerous is that some fentanyl patches can have an unintended leak, allowing the drug to get in direct contact with the skin, in an unintended dose. When the gel containing the powerful drug gets in direct contact with the skin, vital body organs can become compromised. This can result in a rapid fentanyl overdose death.
Have You Been Affected?
If you, a family member, or a friend has suffered severe effects or died due to a lawful, prescribed fentanyl overdose, consult with a Virginia fentanyl overdose death attorney. Losing a loved one due to an extremely dangerous drug like fentanyl is devastating, and you should be compensated when your loved one was prescribed the fentanyl medication, which caused their accidental death.
If you have any questions regarding a prescription fentanyl-related overdose death, call our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.