The statistics are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were over 52,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2015. This number represents a record, which is being attributed to an epidemic of opioid abuse. While the number of deaths related to the use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, as well as heroin, have spiked, prescription painkillers are considered the primary culprit.
But it is not only the numbers that are a cause for alarm, but also the complexity of the problem itself. Much of the opioid crisis is actually due to the frequency with which doctors have prescribed the drugs. According to a former U.S. attorney, for years pharmaceutical companies have executed a marketing campaign that encourages doctors to prescribe opioids to patients without highlighting the addictive risks.
As a result, opioid addiction has cut a mighty swath through the American public. One toxicology specialist, who is also an emergency room physician, says that he has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people abusing prescription opioids. He adds that an upswing in heroin use came on the heels of the opioid explosion.
There are no easy answers to the question of how to halt the expanding opioid problem. And clearly, almost anyone could fall prey to addiction. Along with the health issues, those suffering with addiction also risk arrest and incarceration if they are caught in possession of opioids for which they have no legal prescription.
If you are facing possession charges, it is imperative to have an experienced attorney represent your interests. The attorney could work on your behalf in an effort to get you help with your problem, rather than incarceration.