If you have ever had surgery, been seriously injured, or suffered from cancer or other debilitating illness, you have probably been prescribed opioid medication. Drugs like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine are often prescribed to patients who are experiencing levels of pain that would be unmanageable with simple over the counter medications. Unfortunately, while these medicines are highly effective as painkillers, they are also extremely dangerous.
The Cycle of Addiction
Opioid addiction does not discriminate. People of all income levels and ethnicities have fallen victim to opioid addiction. Often, the addiction begins when a person taking pain pills grows a tolerance to them. He or she will need higher and higher doses of the medication in order to feel the pain-relieving quality. Eventually, a person addicted to opioid pills will need the pills just to feel normal.
Sometimes, when people cannot access pain pills, they turn to illegal opioids like heroin. Heroin is a treacherous drug, alone killing almost 13,000 people in 2015. More recently, heroin has become more dangerous than ever. Drug dealers have started mixing heroin with fentanyl, a substance up to 100 times more potent than morphine and many times that of heroin. Many drug users are unaware that the heroin they have purchased has been cut with fentanyl, which often leads to a deadly overdose. Currently, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are responsible for more overdose deaths than any other drug.
Opioid Use Linked to Increasing Murder Rate
During the same time that opioid use and overdose death has been increasing, murder rates are also increasing. Data shows that the rate at which murders are committed in the United States has risen in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Experts believe that because people are becoming more and more dependent on illicit drugs like heroin, they are being forced to interact with dangerous criminals or spend time in unsafe neighborhoods. While the relationship between murder rates and opioid abuse is not completely understood, one thing is certain. The opioid crisis is a full-blown epidemic.
Are You Facing Charges Related to Drug Use?
Addiction can make even the most reasonable individual act in ways they never thought they would. If you are facing drug-related charges, you deserve an attorney who will help you understand your legal options going forward. The team members at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. have prided themselves on helping those facing drug charges avoid jail time and get their lives back together. For a free, confidential consultation with a Will County criminal defense attorney, call us at 815-740-4025.