Oxycodone formerly reigned. Cocaine followed that up. Other drugs have also centrally featured, including heroin and methamphetamine.
And now the powerful pain-killing narcotic medication fentanyl is front and center. A recent national article spotlighting that pharmaceutical offering notes that it is now “the most deadly drug in the U.S.”
That of course begs an obvious question, to which this is the answer: Federal regulators say that there were a stunning 63,632 deaths linked with fentanyl use in 2016 (the most recent annual period for which relevant data is available).
That of course spells real tragedy all across the country, including in Missouri. The term “epidemic” frequently leads news stories and reports focused upon drug overdoses nationally, and for good reason.
Prescription drugs are certainly a core component in what is a problem of vast dimensions that needs to be resolutely addressed and resolved. We reference some of the more prominent prescribed opioids with strongly addictive qualities on our St. Louis criminal defense website at the established law firm of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry. They include OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax. Those are sometimes used in combination with one or more of the above-cited drugs, like fentanyl. The result can be especially deadly.
Illicit drug use is far less often conduct engaged in by hardened criminals bent on violence than it is behavior simply compelled by strong addictions.
Drug addiction responds to treatment, not to incarceration that is indifferent to rehabilitation. Legislators, health regulators, criminal justice participants and communities across the nation are increasingly recognizing that and adopting new policies focused upon affected individuals’ reassimilation rather than on their perpetual punishment and isolation.
The increased adoption of better informed strategies will hopefully help turn the tide in America’s battle against opioid addiction.