The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Many blame the greed of large pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson for marketing opioids as a harmless painkiller. These addictive drugs have been prescribed to millions of Americans over the last 30 years.
Drug addicts are often thought to be low-income members of society, but opioids have changed the landscape of drug addiction. From middle-class soccer moms to former student-athletes, Americans across all socioeconomic groups who were struggling with pain have become addicted to opioids, and many times they are turning to other substances like heroin to fuel their addiction.
Overdoses due to opioids or opioid-related drugs have skyrocketed across the country, with the first wave of deaths occurring around 1991. Here in King County alone, there were 712 overdose deaths attributed to opioids in 2018, and 213 of those deaths were related to a synthetic form of an opioid such as fentanyl. But overdoses don't have to lead to death, and there is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose if it is administered in time.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a safe-to-use medication that can be injected or administered through a nasal spray. It temporarily blocks the effects of opioids. And now, thanks to a standing order released on August 28, 2019, by Washington State Health Officer Kathy Lofy, it is now available to anyone in the state without a prescription. "Making it easier to access and distribute this lifesaving medication to people who need it is an important step in addressing the opioid crisis and reducing overdose deaths in our state," said Lofy.
Not only is this a huge benefit to law enforcement, especially bicycle officers who can often get to persons overdosing quicker than EMTs or patrol car officers, but anyone who is struggling with addiction or has a loved one who is in the grips of addiction can now get naloxone to carry with them at all times. Organizations that work with people addicted to opioids will also have easier access to naloxone to distribute to anyone who needs it. The cost of naloxone varies depending on a person's health insurance provider, and Medicaid clients can get it for free.
Unfortunately, becoming addicted to opioids can often lead to other criminal activities, such as possession of heroin. According to Washington RCW 69.50.204(b), heroin is a Schedule I drug and can lead to the steepest penalties. Many people who became addicted to prescription opioids will turn to heroin because it is cheaper and stronger.
Drug Defense Attorneys
If you (or someone you love) have become addicted to prescription opioids and you are now charged with the serious crime of heroin possession, you need help to fight and recover. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Steve Karimi are experienced in defending people facing drug charges, and they can help you. Call them at 206-621-8777 or fill out an online contact form today to get started on your road to recovery and freedom.