Opioid abuse is a significant problem throughout Virginia. In 2017, 1,241 people died from drug overdoses that involved opioids. That’s around 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people, which is just above the national average.
One of the biggest issues is that the number of deaths have been increasing. There was an increase in the number of deaths involving heroin and fentanyl, specifically.
When it comes to the opioid crisis, providers can still be to blame
Medical providers can, and should, prescribe opioids to those who legitimately need them. However, some write prescriptions with little regard for the risk of addiction or substance abuse. This, in turn, leads to individuals in Virginia who are accused of drug crimes for drug-seeking behaviors, DUIs and other actions.
Did you know that providers in Virginia prescribed 52.9 opioid prescriptions per 100 people? That’s lower than the national average of 58.7 per 100. Perhaps more surprising is that the rate is a 34% decrease from 2012, when there were 79.6 opioid prescriptions per 100 being written.
There is no question that some people need opioid medications. Chronic pain, severe (acute) pain after surgery and other issues can lead to the need for prescriptions for these medications. However, overusing the drugs, or using them for longer than necessary, can lead to addiction and dependency. Addiction can have a harsh impact on a person’s life, leading to DUIs, buying medications illegally and other criminal acts.
If you’re accused of a drug crime involving prescription opioids, build your defense
At this point, many good people have been impacted by the opioid crisis, and it’s clear that it isn’t always their fault. Addiction is a disease, and people often benefit from addiction treatment instead of imprisonment after an arrest.
If you are accused of a drug crime involving prescription opioids, you should be careful about the steps you take next. It’s in your best interest to start building a defense, because what you do now may help you reduce the impact of the charges and could help you break out of the cycle of addiction. Your criminal defense attorney may work to negotiate treatment in lieu of imprisonment, community service or other penalties, so that you can start to get your life back in order instead of having a situation that could further set you back.
Prescription opioid crimes are significant, but with good help, many people can overcome their addictions.