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The Opioid Epidemic: The Dangerous Misconceptions

March 23, 2018, on Drug Crimes |

Federal drug defense attorneys provide help to those who are accused of drug offenses, including crimes related to fentanyl and opioids. The opioid epidemic has been treated differently than many other epidemics in the past and, as The Intercept explains, public perception of this epidemic may not accurately reflect reality.

The Dangerous Misconceptions About the Opioid Epidemic

According to The Intercept, there are a number of misconceptions that are commonly harbored about the opioid epidemic that are making it harder for people to actually get the help they need and that are making it harder to craft a coherent societal response that could help to save lives.

One of the misconceptions that exists is that the opioid epidemic is not leading to as harsh of a crackdown by law enforcement as other drug epidemics, such as when crack cocaine became so prevalent in the 1980's. 

The Intercept indicates that some social justice advocates believe that people addicted to opioids are treated with more empathy because many of the people who are addicted are white in comparison with the crack epidemic which was seen as a problem primarily affecting the minority population.

According to the Intercept, this has made addressing the issue of the opioid crisis more political, and has caused some advocates who would normally be working aggressively to encourage sympathetic treatment of offenders to instead ignore the crisis due to a belief that conservatives care more about opioid addicts than other victims of addiction.

The perception that the epidemic primarily affects white people, who are in turn treated sympathetically, may also be causing other problems as well. First, the number of addicts and overdoses within minority communities is largely underreported because it doesn't fit with the narrative.

Second, the fact that many people caught up in the opioid epidemic are increasingly being treated harshly is also not being widely reported on because this also undermines the premise that authorities are taking a softer approach.

In reality, the addiction and death rate from opioids and fentanyl are soaring in minority communities as well as in rural white communities, and there actually is an aggressive drug war being waged in many places as well.

In New Hampshire, for example, there has been an evolving pattern of police and prosecutors treating drug dealers and even addicts in the same way they would treat murderers. One example was a man who crossed state lines with a friend to score fentanyl. The man drove out of state and split the drugs he had bought with the friend, selling part of the drugs he had acquired to help support his own habit.  The friend subsequently died of an overdose from the fentanyl that had been obtained and the man was charged as a dealer, facing the possibility of life in prison. He ultimately entered a plea deal and was sentenced to between 10 and 40 years imprisonment.

This is just one of many examples of a drug user being prosecuted with the harshest penalties possible, even as public perception is that those who are addicted to opioids are being treated with compassion.

The fact is, the legal system continues to impose harsh consequences and federal drug defense attorneys should be consulted as soon as you have been charged if you wish to try  to protect your future.

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