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President Trump Declares Opioid Overdose Epidemic a National Emergency

Posted on in Drug Crimes

San Jose drug crimes attorneyThe United States is in the midst of a drug epidemic. President Donald Trump acknowledged this crisis when, on August 10, 2017, he declared the opioid epidemic as a national emergency.

Opioids, which refers to both prescription drugs and illegal drugs, are claiming lives throughout the country. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdose. But the number of fatalities in 2016 is even more staggering, with studies indicating that more than 59,000 people were killed from drug overdoses. Research shows that this year, the rate of overdose deaths are continuing to increase. 

What is Fueling the Epidemic, and Who Is Affected?

Research indicates that rural Americans under the age of 50 are most likely to overdose, particularly in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Maine. There are several factors that lead to rural areas being more susceptible to the drug epidemic. These areas tend to have few options for pain management like physical therapy or chiropractic treatments, so doctors in rural communities are more inclined to prescribe pain medication. When patients become addicted to painkillers, they may begin using heroin as an alternative after doctors stop prescribing the medications to them. 

Geography, lack of resources, and the lack of jobs was the perfect mixture for a drug epidemic in rural America. The 2008 recession and the decline of the coal industry significantly impacted populations in the countryside. Rural populations fell into economic depression, which led to an increase in mental health issues. To remedy their distress and emotional state, individuals turned to drugs. 

Drug treatment options are few in rural areas as well. Those who seek treatment often have to travel hours away for rehabilitation in another town or city. If addicts do not have the time or the resources to travel long miles, there are little to no treatment options available for them. 

How States and Cities Are Reacting

Towns and states are cracking down on the epidemic, but not in the ways one may believe. Instead of enacting stricter drug laws, local and state governments are suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in causing opioid addictions. 

However, some states are taking a more unique approach in addressing drug abuse. The passage of a new bill in the California legislature would allow addicts to use drugs in supervised settings within eight counties of the Golden State. Addicts can use illegal drugs within these controlled health facilities without fear of being arrested or charged. If addicts overdose in these facilities, they can receive prompt treatment and care, because the facilities are supervised. Policymakers hope these facilities will reduce the number of deaths from overdose. 

Contact a Reputable Drug Crimes Lawyer in San Jose, CA

If you face a drug charge, contact the San Jose criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson. Attorney Erik Johnson understands how important rehabilitation, not prosecution, is in treating drug addiction. Schedule a free consultation by calling 408-246-3004.

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/05/upshot/opioid-epidemic-drug-overdose-deaths-are-rising-faster-than-ever.html

http://nprillinois.org/post/why-opioid-epidemic-hitting-rural-america-especially-hard#stream/0

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/trump-declares-opioid-crisis-national-emergency-n791576

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