The Opioid Epidemic in Connecticut
Opioid abuse is a serious problem in the United States. And the problem is only getting worse -- especially in Connecticut. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, oxycodone, and morphine. While prescription opioid painkillers are safe when used for a short period of time, regular use can lead to addiction, overdose and sometimes death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Connecticut currently ranks in the top ten states for opioid-related overdose deaths, according to NIDA. The number of deaths increased dramatically between 2012 and 2016, rising from 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people to 24.5 deaths per 100,000 people. That is well above the national average of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
Thankfully, the state is taking steps to address this growing epidemic.
Connecticut Launches New Treatment Program
Until recently, opioid treatment has been aimed at adults, but Connecticut officials recognize that the opioid crisis touches everyone in the state -- including children.
That is why Connecticut recently launched a program to fight opioid abuse among young people. Specifically, the program is designed to provide people 21 years old and younger with medical treatment and recovery support services. The state Department of Children and Families runs the new program, which is funded partly by a federal grant.
But opioid abuse is not just a medical issue. It also has criminal implications. (However, under state law people who seek emergency medical treatment for a suspected drug overdose are immune from civil and criminal liability.)
Opioid Prescription-Related Crimes
Doctors prescribe certain opioid drugs as painkillers, which is how some people become addicted. That is why the state has specific laws to monitor and prevent prescription drug abuse. For example:
- Connecticut law requires physicians and other medical professionals to take continuing education in prescribing controlled substances like opioids;
- Authorized practitioners may only prescribe adults with a seven-day supply of opioids for first-time outpatient use. As of 2017, practitioners cannot prescribe minors more than a five-day supply;
- Prescribers must also explain the associated risks of addiction and overdose to adult patients and to minors and their parents; and
- Certain insurance companies must provide coverage for inpatient detoxification services.
There are also harsh consequences for anyone who illegally possesses or sells controlled substances like opioids. Contact an experienced attorney if you are arrested for or charged with any drug-related crime.
Reach Out to Us for Help Today
Contact the experienced Norwalk drug crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today for a free consultation if you are charged with any opioid- or other drug-related crime in Connecticut. These are serious offenses, and you need our legal expertise to help clear you of all charges or to receive the lowest possible sentence.