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Heroin use, drug charges on the rise in Arizona

More and more people in Arizona are using heroin. For some people, the euphoric effect of the opiate is the only time that they safe, happy and warm. Yet, using heroin can lead to tragic consequences. Addicts and first time users alike can face drug possession charges that carry serious criminal consequences if they are found with the substance in their possession. Worse yet, heroin users can overdose and die.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that the number of overdose deaths from heroin use doubled from 2009 to 2011. The Phoenix DEA also reports an increase in Mexican heroin being smuggled into the country and, consequently, an increase in legal investigations as well. The stigma that was once associated with heroin use no longer applies. The drug is so pure that it can be smoked rather than injected using a needle. The ease with which it can be obtained coupled with its low price tag has made it the drug of choice in high schools across the valley. Those who have become addicted to opioid painkillers have found heroin is an affordable alternative to prescription drugs such as Vicodin. In fact, one doctor who specializes in addiction medicine estimates that approximately 95 percent of the heroin addicts he treats turn to it after using oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Most heroin users are not bad people; they simply need help getting out of a bad situation. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges, it is important to remember that you aren’t alone. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, it may be possible to get the charges dropped by conducting an independent investigation or minimize the consequences by advocating enrollment in a drug treatment program rather than prison time.

Source: Payson Roundup, “Prescription Drug Abuse Spikes Heroin Use,” Peter Haden, Nov. 29, 2013

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