Americans are struggling with a lot of different issues right now, including social, medical and economic uncertainties. Those problems are likely adding to the increase in opioid overdoses that officials are now seeing in more than 30 states.
An addiction to drugs seldom arises out of nowhere. Many people who become addicted to drugs suffer from poverty, abuse, neglect and other social ills long before they start using drugs as a relief. The opioid epidemic, however, was different. Instead of staying confined to a largely forgotten segment of society, opioids reached into middle-class homes and started wreaking havoc on suburbia unlike any other class of illicit drugs.
How did they get there? You can thank an aggressive pharmaceutical industry that prioritized profits over people and doctors who were running shady “pill mill” operations that passed out prescriptions like they were candy for years.
It’s important to remember that opioid addiction doesn’t just threaten an addict’s health — it also threatens their freedom. To support their drug cravings, addicts get involved in all manner of illegal activities, including things like:
- Buying or selling leftover prescription pills to friends or family members
- Doctor “shopping” and trying to manipulate unwitting physicians into writing more prescriptions
- Stealing prescription medication from patients (when the addict is in the medical field)
- Manufacturing, trafficking or dealing drugs to others
- Financial crimes, like fraud and embezzlement, to pay for more drugs
Addiction is a serious problem. Crimes related to drug addiction send thousands of people to jail every year. If your addiction has led to criminal activity or a loved one has been arrested for a drug-related offense, make sure that you have experienced representation by your side. It may be possible to negotiate a deal with the prosecution that leads to treatment and not punishment.