BASTROP, LOUISIANA. 2 million people in the U.S. are addicted to prescription painkillers. Another 450,000 are addicted to heroin. According to Slate, despite these terrifying statistics, we already know how to treat opioid addiction. Methadone and other medication-based treatment methods are known to work. Yet, many policy-makers prefer to throw those who are suffering from addiction in jail, charge them with drug possession, or usher them through an already taxed criminal justice system. Individuals who do not have an aggressive and committed criminal defense drug possession lawyer like Ross Downs, may find themselves facing jail time, rather than getting access to the treatment and care they need.
By offering a range of treatment methods, cities and states can keep people out of jail, reduce crime, and improve the community’s quality of health. Patients who are prescribed methadone and buprenorphine are given a chance to avoid some of the worst effects of withdrawal, while also giving their bodies and minds a chance to heal. Of course, these drugs need to go hand-in-hand with high-quality treatment options that offer addicts alternatives to using. Individuals need to find treatment methods that work for them.
The Wall Street Journal estimates that thousands will die of opioid overdose between now and January. Another 40,000 will end up in the emergency room. Despite these numbers, many insurance providers require extensive pre-authorization forms before patients can get access to critical addiction recovery treatment. Even as thousands die, the government has failed to fund the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, an act that would give states grants to help treat those suffering from addiction.
The Surgeon General has noted that addiction is a disease that requires medical intervention. Addicts do not lack willpower, nor do they suffer from some kind of moral defect as a result of their addiction. Opioid addiction leads to chemical changes in the brain that makes it very difficult to quit without help. Despite this, according to the Bastrop Daily Enterprise, doctors wrote 249 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers last year alone. As opioid addiction rises, big pharmaceutical companies make huge profits. Many cities and states, rather than getting individuals the medical treatment they need, end up throwing people in jail. This can affect a person’s work prospects for life, not to mention break up families and divide individuals from the crucial support networks they will need in order to recover.
Rather than creating a pipeline whereby individuals who are suffering from addiction end up in jail, we need better medical solutions. Individuals who are charged with DUI’s for using drugs and driving need better options than facing criminal charges, losing their driver’s license, and possibly losing their job. Ross Downs is a criminal defense attorney in Bastrop, Louisiana who understands that drug addiction is a complex social issue. Our firm works hard to protect the rights of individuals who are suffering from addiction. We fight hard for families and victims to help them get the drug treatment they need, and avoid the adverse consequences of how our current criminal justice system sometimes handles individuals suffering from addiction.