Skip to Content
You Don't Pay Us Unless We Win 888-398-2277

The History of the Opioid Epidemic


The opioid epidemic has swept across the nation, reaching into all socio-economic groups and crossing ethnic lines. It has resulted in more than half a million deaths since it began, and it is expected to cause another 650,000 fatalities in the next 10 years. How did this epidemic begin, and who is responsible for fueling this deadly crisis?

The Start of the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. During this time, doctors were becoming more aware of the need for effective and all-purpose pain medication to treat patients. Faced with pressure from the government to address the growing problem of pain in America, and lacking the resources to determine treatments for complex pain, doctors looked for a quick and effective solution. This is when pharmaceutical companies saw their opportunity. They began producing, marketing, and selling opioid prescriptions on a massive scale, promoting the drugs as safe, all-purpose pain relief solutions. Doctors jumped at this opportunity, and began prescribing opioids to patients suffering from all types of pain.

The Growing Crisis

As the proliferation of opioids took effect, America quickly became the world’s leading manufacturer of opioid prescriptions. In fact, studies have shown that Americans consume more opioid drugs than any other country in the world. Convinced of the safety and effectiveness of these drugs, doctors prescribed opioids large quantities, and thousands of people were soon using them.

Opioids have a similar composition to heroin. As doctors prescribed more opioids, countless patients became dependent and addicted. This led to the abuse of the drugs, which has since resulted in thousands of tragic overdoses and widespread addiction.

Understanding the Role of Pharmaceutical Companies

In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies saw an opportunity to make a profit from the pain relief market. They used aggressive marketing campaigns to push the sale of the drugs, knowing the risks involved. The companies emphasized the benefits of the opioids while failing to warn doctors of their addictive nature. Even when using opioids as prescribed, patients were becoming dependent and addicted. The pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors chose to cover up the truth in order to make a profit. They have since gained multi-billion dollar profits from the sale of opioids, while thousands of people are suffering and dying across the nation.

Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. - (888) 398-2277

Since it began in the 1990s, the opioid crisis has posed a growing threat to the health, safety, and well-being of American citizens. At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we believe pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors must be held accountable for their contributions to the problem. If you or a loved one have suffered an opioid addiction, our Kansas City opioid lawsuit attorneys will work diligently on your behalf as you seek the justice you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation.