Legal Consequences Not the Only Risks of Drug Use

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Chicago drug crimes attorney,While heroin and opioids have received major media attention lately, the drug problem in America is widespread and involves many illegal substances. There is no denying that the heroin and opioid problem is an epidemic, leading to thousands of overdoses each year, as well as legal problems for many more. Opioids and heroin, however, are not the only substances causing problems. Below is recent data collected by the Centers for Disease Control on the growth of drug overdoses in America.

Opioids

The category of opioids consists primarily of medications prescribed to relieve pain. This includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. When used as prescribed these drugs help patients manage pain, but when abused, they carry major potential side effects. Respiratory problems are common, and even a single large dose can lead to death. These substances are also extremely addicting. Deaths due to overdosing on opioids have skyrocketed in America. In 2000, the rate of fatal overdoses related to opioids was well under 5,000 individuals per year. In 2014, more than 15,000 people died of opioid related overdoses.

Heroin

Made from morphine, heroin is an opioid drug that can be smoked, injected or snorted. It has a variety of negative health effects, including slowed breathing, reduced heart rate, collapsed veins, infections, liver disease, and kidney disease, to name just a few. It can also lead to comas or death depending on the amount taken. Additionally, for users who inject the substance, there is a risk of hepatitis, HIV, and other infectious disease transmission. While not as dramatic of a rise as opioids, heroin has seen a dramatic increase in overdose fatalities. In the early 2000’s, the overdose rate remained consistently at around 2,000 deaths per year. By 2014, over 10,000 deaths each year were due to heroin overdoses.

Cocaine

Cocaine is another addictive controlled substance causing fatalities in America. Made from the coca plant, the drug brings with it a bevy of dangerous side effects including death, infections, insomnia, heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and comas. Interestingly enough, the highest year for cocaine related overdoses was 2006, when the rate sat at around 7,000 people. In 2014, the rate was down to a little over 5,000 fatalities, but the recent trend over the past few years indicates the rate is increasing again.

Benzodiazepines

Drugs classified as benzodiazepines include Valium and Xanax, and are typically used to treat stress problems, anxiety, and panic attacks. Others like Halcion and ProSom are prescribed to patients with sleeping disorders. These depressants have many harmful side effects when abused, including a tolerance a user can develop. Seizures and other harmful brain issues may arise, as these drugs work to slow brain activity. If a user attempts to stop taking a benzodiazepine abruptly, they may face life threatening problems. The fatal overdose rate of benzodiazepines has risen drastically in America, from less than 1,000 deaths in 2000 to around 7,000 in 2014.

Stimulants

This category includes illegal substances like methamphetamine and MDMA, and prescription stimulants, most often prescribed to ADHD, narcolepsy, and depression occasionally. These drugs can be addicting, and bring with them a variety of potential consequences from depression, hostility and paranoia to more serious side effects like an irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular failure and seizures. While stimulants are responsible for far less deaths than opioids and heroin, the rate of fatalities due to stimulant overdose has still steadily inclined in America. Where once the rate sat at less than 1,000 deaths per year, stimulants caused nearly 5,000 deaths in 2014, and the data seems to point to more deaths in the future.

Legal Consequences? We Can Help

In addition to the many possible health consequences, including death, that abusers of illegal substances and prescription drugs may face, there are a variety of legal consequences associated with being caught possessing, using, or selling controlled substances. Drug charges can ruin your life, hurt your livelihood, destroy your relationships, and lead to significant jail time and fines. Consequences like this call for an aggressive Chicago area criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, we have successfully handled a wide variety of drug related cases for our clients, and are available to assist you immediately. No matter your charge, our years of experience have made us capable of handling any drug related case. Call 312-270-0999 today to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#heroin

http://time.com/4274651/obama-opioid-addiction-summit/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/what-prescription-drug-abuse

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