While the COVID-19 pandemic is consuming most of the headlines right now, there is another health crisis affecting New Yorkers here in Syracuse and across the state: opioid addiction.
These powerful painkillers can be highly addictive. Millions of Americans became addicted after being prescribed one of these drugs, such as fentanyl and oxycodone, by their doctor. The pain of the injury may fade, but the dependence remains. Once doctors stop giving them the prescriptions, addicts often must buy opioids on the street, or graduate to heroin.
Most know someone addicted to opioids
Besides the risk of criminal charges, opioid addicts face the danger of overdose. This widespread problem has reached every part of New York State. A recently released survey from Siena College shows that 29 percent of New Yorkers know somebody who died of an opioid overdose.
The study also said that 59 percent of respondents said that either they or someone they knew had abused opioids. Most of us have been touched by this crisis, either personally or within their worlds.
One piece of potentially good news: while about two-thirds of those surveyed believe the opioid addiction problem has gotten worse in the past two years, that is a big drop from 2018, when 83 percent agreed that the problem was worsening. But that year, only 54 percent of respondents said they or someone they knew was addicted to opioids. So the issue touches many more lives than it used to just two years ago.
Drug charges can be handled
If addiction has led you to be charged with drug trafficking or other drug-related crimes, you could have options. For example, New York State’s Criminal Drug Treatment Court can reduce or dismiss the charges against you, if you go through a treatment program. To learn what options are available to you that could keep you out of jail, speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney.