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There have been four accidental overdose deaths linked to Fentanyl, also known as the Duragesic pain patch, in Hampton Roads in 2009 and 37 deaths in Virginia (VA) overall, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The four wrongful death victims in Hampton Roads include two teenagers in Virginia Beach and a young woman who worked in Chesapeake.

Fentanyl-related deaths continue to increase each year in VA. In 2000, three people died after using Fentanyl, but that number spiked to 68 lives lost in 2008. There is also a knockoff version on the streets which has taken the lives of over 1,000 people nationwide since in 2005.

Our firm is familiar with the tragic consequences of using Fentanyl. We are handling two Fentanyl wrongful death cases where, in both cases, a spouse died of sudden overdose while wearing a prescribed Fentanyl pain patch.

Why is Fentanyl such a dangerous drug? Because it is 100 times more powerful than morphine. The drug was introduced in the 1960s to treat severe pain but it started to be used by people who were suffering only moderate, or even minor, pain and the incredible power of the medication produced terrible results.

In addition to the risk of death, Fentanyl side effects include:

  • Severe allergic reactions (e.g. rash, hives, difficulty breathing)
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Slowed breathing
  • Vision problems
  • General weakness

Given these horrific side effects and the disturbingly high number of wrongful deaths due to Fentanyl use, there have been six recalls made by the drug manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals since 1994, according to

It makes you wonder why Fentanyl hasn’t already been taken off the market. Given the number of lives lost and injuries suffered, it appears the risks outweigh the benefits.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.


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