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Opioid Addiction is Now the Leading Cause of Preventable Deaths in America: Spotlighting the Symbiotic Relationship Between Opioid Addiction and Criminal Charges

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It is no secret to most Americans that our nation has been facing an opioid crisis in recent years. But that does not negate the disturbing report recently addressed by the Tampa Bay Times.

According to the Times article, the odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are now higher than the odds of dying from a car accident. In a grim shift, opioid overdose fatality odds are now 1 in 96, placing it highest among preventable deaths in the U.S.

This increase is tragically reflected in the many American families who have been affected by this crisis. Opioid addiction has arisen in many unexpected places because it typically begins with a legitimate prescription. Eventually, that prescription is misused, that misuse can lead to addiction, and addiction can lead to criminal charges that carry substantial penalties.

What Does Opioid Addiction Have to Do With Crime?

Unfortunately, there is a proven link between drug addiction and crime. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 65 percent of the people incarcerated nationwide have a documented substance abuse disorder. Further, opioid users have a documented higher rate of recidivism. This means that those addicted to opioids – which can include everything from prescription drugs to heroin to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – have an increased risk of facing additional charges as accused reoffenders in the future.

What Kinds of Criminal Liability is There For Those Struggling With Their Addiction?

Opioid addiction has many implications and one of the most tragic is the people who face criminal charges after being accused of engaging in behavior that pertains to their addiction. And Florida’s criminal justice system takes drug crimes very seriously. A conviction of a drug-related crime can come with penalties such as:

  • Expensive fines
  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol screening and counseling

Keep in mind that these penalties can be harsh because an addiction can, unfortunately, lead to drug-related criminal charges that extend beyond mere drug possession to everything from theft charges to prostitution.

Does the Opioid Crisis Only Lead to Criminal Charges For Those Addicted to Them?

No. Criminal charges also can be incurred for charges that are unrelated to use or addiction such as the possession, sale, and/or trafficking of opioids and other drugs. Further, under Florida law, you can become criminally liable for someone else’s death from a drug overdose under certain circumstances.

Have You Been Charged With a Crime as a Result of Your Struggle With Opioids?

If you are facing criminal charges as a result of your opioid addiction, you need an attorney who will treat you with compassion and fight for you while you fight to reclaim your life from opioid abuse. As a former prosecutor with extensive criminal experience on both sides of the legal system, Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is the Tampa criminal defense attorney you want on your side when facing any kind of opioid-related charge. Schedule a consultation today.

Resources:

drugabuse.gov/publications/treating-opioid-addiction-in-criminal-justice-settings/treating-opioid-addiction-in-criminal-justice-settings#ref

tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/youre-now-more-likely-to-die-from-an-opioid-overdose-than-a-car-crash-20190115/

https://www.tampadefenselaw.com/drug-crimes-in-florida-worse-now-than-cocaine-era/

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