OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma. According to NewsOK, Oklahoma City ranks #1 in the state for Opioid addiction and abuse, and also tops the nation for prescription painkiller abuse. Drug overdoses kill more people than car accidents do and 4 out of 5 victims overdose on commonly prescribed drugs. The reality is that more of the people being caught for drug abuse in Oklahoma are middle-class and middle-aged residents. At risk are also kids who find the drugs in their parents’ medicine cabinets and veterans returning from war.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioid painkillers and are similar to heroin and morphine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sales of opioid painkillers quadrupled between the years of 1999 and 2010. Many patients suffered overdoses when prescribed cocktails of these potentially deadly drugs. Some individuals become addicted when their doctors over-prescribe the drugs. Others may get the drugs from relatives and friends. In other cases, individuals with addictions may shop around for a doctor who will be willing to prescribe the drug. Pharmacies are required to enter the drugs and patients’ names into a database when they dispense the drug, but many doctors may not check the database to make sure the person hasn’t already received medication.

The reality is that rather than criminally prosecuting individuals who have become addicted, the state needs to find more effective ways to prevent addiction in the first place, and the state needs to find better ways to treat individuals suffering from opioid addiction. According to ProPublica, as prescription painkillers become harder to acquire, those who are addicted may turn to heroin or fentanyl to sate their cravings. Law enforcement need to consider how individuals found with heroin are handled in the criminal justice system. Individuals without proper representation may face jail time, having a criminal record, or other penalties. If you or a loved one is facing criminal possession charges, it is important to seek out a qualified  lawyer. The Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Oklahoma City handles criminal defense cases and can give you the legal support you need.

As it stands, lawmakers are fighting to produce better regulation to both control the prescription of these potentially deadly painkillers. Yet, balancing the interests of patients in pain and the interests of the general public has proven difficult in Oklahoma. The bottom line is that Oklahoma needs better treatment options. If you are facing possession charges, visit http://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com to learn more.