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Naloxone Now Sold Without Restrictions at Maryland Pharmacies

In March of 2017, Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring that the State of Maryland was in a state of emergency due to heroin and opioid-related deaths. Since 2015, there have been an estimated 3,000 or more deaths associated with opioid abuse. This has been a significant increase since 2010, when there were annually only about 500 deaths per year.

The Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in Maryland

Heroin and opioid abuse has steadily increased in Maryland and other states for the last few years. Many believe the cause of a 66% increase of abuse could be the introduction of fentanyl, which has been seen to be mixed with heroin, and is considerably more deadly. Fentanyl is a pain-killer given to surgery patients by hospitals. However, the mortality rate is not only linked with the use of heroin but is increased by the number of patients who are prescribed opioids and who have become addicted. Roughly 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain, and with the epidemic of over-prescription by doctors, there is a corresponding increase in the number of those users who are now addicted to these prescriptions.

Medical Professionals’ Role in the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Though doctors and medical professionals in the last few years have attempted to dial back on prescriptions, and focus their practice and treatment on more holistic methods of pain management, the number of those addicted who overdose is still increasing and an endemic in Maryland and across the United States.

Maryland Takes Steps to Combat Overdose and Drug Abuse

Maryland is attempting, since the state of emergency was declared, to counteract and deal with the opioid and heroin related deaths that precipitated the state of emergency. One of the measures to used to combat these deaths has been to introduce not only Good Samaritan laws, but also the permission of Maryland pharmacies to sell naloxone (as of June of 2017) to any person interested in the drug, which can aid in reversing an overdose associated with heroin and other opioids.

The Order Allowing Pharmacies to Sell Naloxone

The new order, which was put in place by Dr. Howard Haft, the state deputy secretary for public health in Maryland, lifts the requirement that naloxone needs a prescription and that the user must be trained and certified in its use. The pharmacies will now sell up to two doses of naloxone for emergency overdoses, and though it will not be over-the-counter, pharmacists will be able to give the drug over to the person who requests it so that the pharmacist can give information on how to administer the drug and why the person may need the drug in the first place.

One More Measure to Help Maryland’s Drug Problem

Though this is a fantastic measure to deal with overdose at the time it occurs, the onus is still placed on medical professionals to decrease their prescriptions of powerful opioids and look to more holistic methods to deal with pain management with their patients with chronic pain. Treating with drugs that are highly addictive and could lead to drug abuse and overdose is the initial problem in the chain of events that occur post-prescription. By increasing the barriers to prescribing these addictive drugs and lowering the barriers to help those access overdose reversing medications, hopefully more lives will be saved than lost.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

The overprescription and prescribing drugs mistakenly has led to serious harm to those patients who take the drug on doctor’s orders. There is considerable trust that patients give to their doctors, and they assume that this trust will lead to doctors acting right by their patients. If you or a loved one has been harmed or injured as a result of medical malpractice or negligence, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.

Recent Maryland Measles Outbreak Leads to Possible Vaccine Liability for Anti-Vaxxers

In the United States, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of science and believe our technological advances will have the impact of stopping preventable deaths, especially in our infant population. Over the last 50 years, vaccinations have been slowly introduced into society to help eradicate infant deaths, as well as ensure that preventable diseases are stopped from spreading before infecting vulnerable populations. These vulnerable populations may contain citizens who have compromised immune systems and have not been able to be vaccinated for the more common contagious diseases like the whooping cough, mumps, rubella, and measles.

Anti-Vaxxer Movement Believes Incorrectly that Autism is Linked to Vaccines

However, there are factions of our population that are fearful of the impact and potential harm that vaccinations may have on their children. Though the scientific evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that there is no link between vaccines and autism, as supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the anti-vaccine movement, also known as the “anti-vaxxers,” have continued spreading falsities that have left their children and the children of others at significant risk of protracting these preventable diseases.

Maryland has Immunization Requirements for School

Though Maryland has requirements that children in its schools must be vaccinated and must have all proper immunizations before being admitted at the start of each school year, the number of children not compliant with the immunization laws in Maryland are seeing a dramatic increase. Baltimore schools at the start of the 2016-2017 year, for example, saw that almost 3,800 students were not compliant with the immunization requirements. In Prince George’s County, it was estimated that at the start of the 2016-2017 school year, there were almost 6, 400 students not compliant. Though Maryland permits religious and medical reasons for not getting the required immunizations (and must prove this with documentation), more likely than not, these children do not overwhelmingly fall under these exceptions. However, it is important to note that in states in which there is no exemption granted on behalf of religious or philosophical beliefs, there are not only higher childhood vaccination rates but also the occurrence of infectious diseases targeted by these vaccinations are significantly lower than in states that permitted religious/philosophical exemptions.

Measles Outbreak Leaves Many Questioning How to Protect Their Children

In late May of 2017, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene notified citizens of Prince George’s County of a possible measles outbreak. Measles, though innocuous to those who have already been vaccinated and even children who have already received at least one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), can be highly contagious to the unvaccinated. Measles disseminates through the air from coughing and sneezing. Recent epidemics of measles in the Prince George’s County area in the last few years have been attributed to a decreased number of vaccinated children.

No Cause of Action to Sue Anti-Vaxxers for Harm in Maryland

Though Maryland has yet to create a legal cause of action against parents who choose to not vaccinate their children, or the school districts for allowing these unvaccinated children to be admitted into the school system, it looks like there may be vaccine liability in the future, especially for more communicable diseases like the measles, where there is a 90% chance of transmitting the disease to another. However, at this moment in time, there is no way to hold accountable those who make anti-vaccination choices for nonmedical reasons.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

When there is an outbreak of preventable diseases, there is always a question of how to protect your loved ones from falling victim to the disease. If your school allows students who are not compliant with the immunization requirements and were not exempted with legitimate documentation, and your child gets sick, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.

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