People who hear or read reports of arrests made involving drugs in Pennsylvania should carefully consider that there may be more to the story than someone allegedly breaking the law. In many cases, people accused of drug crimes have underlying addictions or substance abuse problems that put them in the position of being arrested as they struggle with the vicious cycle of drug addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction to prescription opioid medications and to heroin has increased dramatically across the nation in recent years. While opioids such as oxycodone have proven useful in combatting serious pain after surgeries or in other medical cases, they have been perhaps too widely used to help manage chronic pain. Patients who live with back problems, for example, have often been prescribed opioids to give them relief from symptoms so that they can go about their daily lives. This approach, however, has contributed to more addictions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that deaths attributed to drug overdoses, sales of drugs and admissions to drug addiction and abuse facilities or programs have all risen. The challenges associated with getting people proper help to combat addiction may well be part of what has contributed to more drug crime arrests.

Anyone who has been charged with a crime involving an opioid medication in Pennsylvania might want to reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help in planning a proper defense.

Source: CBS News, “The opioid epidemic in 6 charts,” Kolodny, October 5, 2017