Addiction to potentially deadly drugs has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. 2016 is the first year on record where the number of drug overdose deaths exceeded gun fatalities. Although data isn’t in for 2017, there’s little doubt the death toll will surpass that of 2016. States, communities and even national health organizations keep trying to address this ever-spreading issue with little luck.
Many addicts start off by taking prescribed medication received from a doctor. Others may buy unused or even stolen pills on the unregulated black market. Over time, these people may increase their dosage, frequency of opioid consumption or strength of the drug they use. That could mean moving to heroin or another, stronger drug, like fentanyl.
Federal agencies taking aim at suppliers and sellers
Now, in an attempt to curb abuse of synthetic opioids the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and Acting DEA Administrator Robert Patterson plan to increase enforcement efforts. Citing the fact that someone in the United States overdoses and dies every nine minutes, these federal officials recently announced new enforcement efforts to combat the spread of opioid addiction and abuse.
Efforts include more than $12 million in grant funding for law enforcement efforts combating manufacturing or distributing methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids. They will also create a new DEA Field Division in Louisville, Kentucky, to facilitate a stronger presence in the Appalachian mountain area. The end result will surely be more prosecutions for opioid and heroin offenses.
Finally, they are adding more professional and organizational positions to ensure that the opioid crisis gets addressed quickly and effectively. Every United States attorney will appoint a new Opioid Coordinator by the end of the business day on December 15, 2017, to help address this growing scourge.
Fentanyl is one of many drugs of concern for enforcement efforts
It wasn’t so long ago that very few people had ever heard of the drug fentanyl. These days, however, it’s an increasingly popular drug of abuse. Although it is a prescribed medication, this narcotic pain medication, which is an opioid, definitely contributes to the growing epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse. Sold under several popular brand names, including Ionsys, Abstral, Subsys and Duragesic, fentanyl is an incredibly potent and addictive drug.
In fact, fentanyl is actually stronger than heroin. Its abuse is incredibly dangerous, resulting in overdoses and deaths daily across the United States. In the upcoming months, those who steal, sell or distribute fentanyl, other prescribed opioids and heroin will face increasing pressure from local and federal law enforcement agencies. Many people who may only have a personal addiction issue could end up facing severe criminal penalties for what is at its root a health issue.