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How the Heroin Epidemic Is Changing the Drug Game

Photo: Heroin & DrugsHeroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that creates an intense high in users. It has become one of the flashpoints of the opioid epidemic in the U.S., because use of the illicit drug13 has skyrocketed over the past few years.

In fact, fatal heroin overdoses have quadrupled since 2010, and from 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015.

With heroin becoming such a major problem, let’s take a look at why the drug has made such a strong comeback, and how lawyers are defending clients charged with heroin possession.

Prescription Painkillers Are the Biggest Cause of Heroin Addiction

Addiction to prescription painkillers has become a major problem in the U.S., especially in states like Ohio, which has seen massive increases in overdose deaths.

And studies have found that addiction to prescription painkillers is one of the major contributors to a person becoming a heroin addict.

The reason is that both prescription painkillers and heroin contain opiates, which attach to opioid receptors in the brain that significantly reduce a person’s pain perception and release dopamine, which regulates pleasure and reward.

The problem is that because prescription painkillers create a ‘high,’ they are very addictive and soon, people who were taking them to control pain now take the pills because they want to feel those pleasurable sensations.

Unfortunately, what’s happening is that people who are addicted to prescription opioids often seek the more intense high of heroin because it is less expensive and it doesn’t require a prescription.

But switching from prescription opioids to heroin not only increases the chances of a fatal overdose, but also exposes users to a felony charge of possession.

Types of Heroin Charges

In most states, possession and distribution of heroin is charged as a felony, though many states offer treatment programs that can reduce jail time, and some states offer reduced sentences for first-time offenders.

Possession of heroin is charged as a felony in California, but under Proposition 36 – which was passed in 2000 – the state can offer you treatment for heroin addiction if you were arrested for a non-violent drug offense.

And although the penalties for heroin possession and distribution are dependent on the quality of your defense attorney, and the specific circumstances of your arrest, some common penalties include:

  • Two to four year prison sentence for sale of heroin
  • Three to five year prison sentence for possession or purchase of heroin
  • Three, five or seven year prison sentence for sale of heroin to minors
  • Three to five year prison sentence for transporting or importing heroin

The Need For An Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney

After you are arrested on a heroin charge, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you mount a strong defense. Your lawyer can ensure that police made a lawful arrest, negotiate for a plea bargain to reduce your sentence, and explore all alternatives to a prison sentence. Please call the expert attorneys of the Elden Law Group today at (888) 991-9353 for a legal consultation.

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