Deaths caused by drug overdoses, particularly heroin overdoses and prescription drug overdoses, are on the rise in the United States, according to a recent report released by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
As arrests for drug crimes rise in New Jersey and throughout the United States, drug-related deaths have also risen. The DEA’s annual National Drug Threat Assessment indicates that drug OD deaths have become an increasingly serious problem in the U.S.
Chuck Rosenberg, the DEA’s acting administrator, observed that drug overdose deaths have now surpassed the number of deaths caused by motor vehicles and firearms in this country.
Surprisingly, a major cause of drug overdose deaths is legally prescribed painkillers and other prescription medications. The DEA report indicates that the number of people who abuse prescription medicine is greater than the total number of people who use heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, PCP, and methamphetamine combined. Every day, 120 people die in the US because of drug overdoses, with many of these deaths caused by prescription opioid abuse.
Prescription medication abuse is also linked to heroin abuse and subsequent heroin OD deaths. The DEA report found a major connection between prescription drug use and heroin abuse, with many young people becoming addicted to drugs as a result of legally prescribed pain medication. Once their pain has worn off and the legally prescribed painkillers are no longer needed, the addicted individuals often seek out more drugs to feed their addiction – and what they find is that heroin is often cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription medication.
Some experts speculate that another reason for the increase in heroin OD deaths is that batches of heroin are increasingly stronger and more “pure.” This can make it more likely that the heroin user becomes addicted to the drug and, in some cases, accidentally overdose.
To learn more about the rise in drug overdose deaths in the U.S., view the BusinessInsider.com article, “DEA: Drug Overdoses Are the Single Leading Cause of Injury Death in the US.”
If you face criminal charges for prescription drug possession, possession of heroin, simple possession of marijuana or any other drug crime in New Jersey, it is crucial that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC today to schedule a free consultation about your case.