This is a serious problem. Last year, more than 4,000 people in Ohio died due to drug overdose. Has the time come to stop treating people with addiction issues like criminals, and instead start getting them the treatment they need?
“Drug Addiction Is A Disease, Not A Crime”
According to an article from the Morning Journal, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is leading a group of attorneys general pushing for passage of The Road to Recovery Act. This act would help people get the necessary drug addiction treatment through Medicaid.
In their letter to Congress, the attorneys general point out that opioid addiction often develops after people have been prescribed medication for legitimate reasons. Unfortunately, because of the addictive nature of these drugs, people may continue to obtain them or other drugs illegally after prescriptions run out.
DeWine is also spearheading other initiatives to combat the opioid crisis. According to another article from the Morning Journal, he has formed a task force with several large providers of health insurance to determine ways to prevent addictions from developing in the first place. He has also gone so far as suing five major drug manufacturers for their role in the proliferation of opioid medications.
This Is Still A Crime
Despite the Attorney General acknowledging that addiction is not a crime, people are still being aggressively arrested and prosecuted when found in possession illegally of prescription painkillers like Oxyconton or street drugs like heroin, which people may turn to as substitutes when prescriptions run out and they cannot get prescription drugs through other means.
People accused of drug possession and other drug crimes must be aware that courts may not go easy on them just because of addiction issues. People need to make certain their rights are protected, and they are given options like drug treatment instead of punishment whenever the law allows. An experienced attorney can help in these matters.