Ohio is in the middle of an epidemic: Over the past couple of years, the state has seen a dramatic increase in opioid use. More and more people are becoming hooked on opioids – especially fentanyl, but others as well such as heroin, morphine, and certain prescription painkillers. The problem is only growing – and the results are tragic.
Montgomery County was recently named the “Overdose Capital of America” due to having the most opioid-related deaths in the entire United States in 2016. That number is expected to be much higher in 2017:
- In 2016, there were 371 total opioid-related deaths in Montgomery County
- In the first 5 months of 2017, there were 365 opioid-related deaths in Montgomery County
Approximately 10,000 opioid-related deaths are expected in Ohio this year.
Police response to opioid epidemic
Ohio was already under a lot of pressure to address drug abuse: According to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, the drug crime rate in Ohio increased 58.5% between 2004 and 2014.
Law enforcement are responding aggressively to the opioid epidemic. The DEA Agent-In-Charge said that the agency is investigating even small cases, given how serious and widespread this issue is.
Police officers in Montgomery County typically respond to several overdose calls a day. Many are now carrying a nasal spray to treat overdose victims, which may be effective in counteracting the effects of an opioid overdose.
The opioid epidemic shines light on two distinct challenges facing Ohio.
The first is the obvious issue of crime. While it is legal to possess fentanyl with a valid prescription, much of what is being used in Ohio is imported, synthetic, and illegal. Montgomery County is at the center of the epidemic, partly because it lies on the intersection of major interstates. Those importing, distributing, and purchasing opioids may be targeted.
The second issue is addiction. More and more people are becoming addicted to these drugs and many are buying them off the street. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is not safe, and often contains heroin. Many people are dying as a result.
Charged with a drug crime?
Individuals charged with a drug crime involving opioids or another type of drug have rights and legal options. We represent individuals charged with:
- Drug trafficking
- Drug importing
- Drug distribution
- Other drug crimes