In the last 15 years, drug overdose deaths have increased at a staggering rate. There are ten times as many deaths in Michigan now as there were 15 years ago. Opioid and heroin use are a large part of the problem.

How did this problem develop?

People are using opioids for pain relief, like Vicodin and OxyContin. These highly addictive pain medications are expensive and hard to acquire. Some turn to heroin to satisfy their addiction and relieve pain when opioid prescriptions are not available.

Unfortunately, medical professionals who prescribe these medications may be partly to blame. In the 1990s and 2000s, marketing for opioids to doctors was extremely heavy, causing doctors and other medical professionals to overprescribe this type of medication in some situations.

What is Michigan doing about it?

Governor Rick Snyder developed the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission on June 23, 2016. The Commission will work toward reducing the opioid and heroin epidemic in Michigan by monitoring those who exhibit controlled substances abuse habits, including “doctor shopping.” They will also recommend policies, programs, law enforcement actions and treatment and prevention programs to aid citizens of Michigan who are plagued with addiction.

The Michigan State Police will also offer collection points for unused prescription drugs at all 29 of their state locations. That way, individuals can surrender their unused prescription drugs so that children or those who are battling addiction cannot obtain them.

Legal issues associated with the heroin epidemic

Those with opioid or heroin problems are unfortunately targets for law enforcement, even if they are recovering. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges because of an addiction, seek legal assistance. The team at The Smith Law Offices, P.C. can help with your legal needs if you have been charged with a drug-related offense.