Despite the long-fought “war on drugs” commissioned by lawmakers over the past several decades, it appears that overdose deaths, especially those involving heroin, are increasing. According to reports from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, annual heroin overdoses have been increasing at a rapid rate every year since 2010, with nearly 12,000 deaths related to heroin overdoses being recorded in 2014 alone. This is more than six times the number of recorded deaths in 2001, with trends showing that these numbers are likely to continue to increase in the coming years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other health agencies are calling this a public health emergency, with many attributing the rapid increase in heroin abuse as a side effect of and increased dependency on prescription painkillers. “Heroin costs roughly 5 times less than prescription opiates on the street,” CDC Director Tom Frieden commented, citing the increased abundance of cheap and pure heroin on American streets in recent years. Since heroin produces roughly the same chemical effect on the brain, users are switching to the drug to achieve the same high. As their bodies’ tolerance increases, more and more is needed at a time to maintain the same effect, eventually resulting in the administration of a lethal dose.
Drug-Related Arrests On the Rise
As if the increased number of deaths wasn’t enough of a concern, a side-effect of this epidemic is that law enforcement agencies have ramped up their efforts to crack down on drug crimes throughout the country, especially in Florida. As a Schedule I controlled substance, even possessing small amounts of heroin can be classified as a felony offense in the Sunshine State, exposing defendants to serious penalties upon conviction. While some low-level offenders may be able to receive lesser sentencing in exchange for participation in a substance abuse program, this is usually only possible with the assistance of a powerful attorney.
If you have been arrested for a heroin-related crime, contact the skilled Orlando drug crime attorneys at The Wiseman Law Firm today. With more than 15 years of proven criminal defense experience, our powerful advocates can fight to minimize the consequences you face and ensure your rights are guarded every step of the way during this frightening time.
Call (407) 708-9127 or contact our office online today to discuss your defense options.