Nation urged to address addiction with treatment, not penalty

Over the past 15 or 20 years, Pennsylvania residents have become aware of a growing problem facing not only their local communities but the nation as a whole. The dramatic entrance onto the market of opioid painkillers to help manage serious pain has contributed to a deadly legacy. These highly addictive drugs have led far too many people down a negative path that may include criminal charges, time in jail and even overdose.

Some tried to cut back on the ability to get these medications via prescription but that seems to have fueled a rise in illegal activity to feed the growing number of addictions out there. Now the President's Committee on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has released a comprehensive report asking for a new approach to this problem. Instead of focusing on restricting access to drugs and penalizing people who have or use them, leaders are asking for the emphasis to shift to treating the root addiction problem.

Among the many steps recommended in the report is protection for those people who report overdose activities in order to get help for victims. The goal is to save lives and help rehabilitate people who had developed addictions to these medications and encouraging people to get help without fear of negative consequences may contribute to that.

Pennsylvania residents who struggle with drug addiction or know someone who does may find a consultation with an attorney helpful in the event that they are arrested for drug crimes.

Source: The Washington Post, "White House opioid commission to Trump: 'Declare a national emergency' on drug overdoses," Christopher Ingraham, July 31, 2017

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