You probably know all about the opioid crisis by now. What is currently known is that too many opioid prescriptions were given to people too freely. This led to dependency and addiction. Now, society has a crisis where many people are addicted to drugs that they cannot easily get. This results in them turning to illegal prescriptions and illicit drugs in some cases.

Opioids are currently the main driver of overdoses in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were found to be involved in around 47,600 overdose fatalities in 2017. That’s just over 67% of all deaths.

It’s believed that somewhere around 2.1 million people in America have opioid use disorders, like addiction. For many years, the number of deaths continued to rise, but 2019 finally saw a change. Thanks to reduced prescribing, there was a 5.1% drop in overdose deaths for the first time in nine years.

If you use opioids, can you get medical help without risking charges?

Some people worry that if they go to seek medical care, they’ll be arrested or charged for being in possession of opioids or other drugs. Know that in most cases, seeking medical help does not mean that the authorities will get involved. While it is possible, most people are able to seek care at hospitals or substance abuse clinics without needing to worry about an arrest. Why? Getting help is the first step toward recovery, and an arrest will not help that.

What should you do if you are arrested for having opioid medications without a valid prescription?

Fortunately, people are much more understanding today than they were in the past, and the reality of the opioid crisis has helped create drug courts and systems to help people stop taking or relying on opioids. While you may still face an arrest or charges for illegally obtaining or possessing opioids, your attorney may have additional options for you, such as being able to have your charges dropped if you’re willing to go through a drug addiction treatment program or commit to community service and a treatment plan.

Addiction is a disease, and more courts are starting to treat it that way. You do still need to defend yourself if you’re accused of a crime, but it’s worth noting that the system is changing and there may be ways to get you help with addiction.