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Prescription pill crackdown may be responsible for resurgence of heroin

A dark drug is becoming more popular, and overzealous law enforcement targeting prescription drugs could be partly to blame.
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    February 12, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Prescription pill crackdown may be responsible for resurgence of heroin

Article provided by The Law Office of Donald A. Lykkebak
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For many years, prescription painkillers were the drug of choice for many in Central Florida. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, Alprazolam -- these and other types of prescription drugs were easy to get, relatively cheap and produced powerful effects.

Prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone are still being trafficked and used outside the bounds of a valid prescription. But, the popularity of many drugs is cyclical. With misuse of prescription drugs running high in the public consciousness, law enforcement authorities kicked off a campaign that may have inadvertently led to a new wave of heroin use.

Heroin mimics effects of prescription painkillers, now at a lower price

In late 2012, Central Florida began an unprecedented crackdown on pill mills -- in other words, pharmacies, doctors and clinics that prescribe or dispense powerful narcotics for non-medical use. Over the course of many months, as more and more pill mills were shut down, the supply valve began to close. Street prices for oxycodone and other prescription drugs began to rise, when the pills were available at all.

Heroin never went away completely from the American landscape. Even so, in some ways, heroin calls to mind what now seems like a distant era. But, when award-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on February 2 from an apparent heroin overdose, the national spotlight again shone on heroin.

While law enforcement officials were focused on pills, heroin had been growing again in the shadows; new saplings flourish in the space cleared for them by a forest fire. In their efforts to sweep away prescription drug misuse, law enforcement authorities in Central Florida and across the nation may have unintentionally rolled out the welcome mat for heroin.

"Heroin is opiate-based, just like the oxycodone or hydrocodone, so the high is very similar, so that's one reason they gravitate to the heroin," Buddy Riggi, a Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations Lieutenant, told Fox 35 Orlando. "Also, it's cheaper than what is the current cost for the pills."

It is difficult to gauge the scope of heroin use, as there are obvious incentives to hiding illegal drug possession. But one thing that is hard to hide is the number of deaths related to heroin overdose. According to the latest available data from the CDC, in 2000, there were 1,842 such deaths; by 2010, the number shot up to 3,036. It is easier to overdose on heroin than on prescription pills because unlike commercially produced pills, is very difficult to gauge the purity of heroin and meaningfully measure intake.

Talk to a lawyer if you have been accused of committing a drug crime

Sometimes, overzealous law enforcement has far-reaching consequences. It could be the resurgence of an old drug that is arguably worse that those it is supplanting. It could be the devastation of an entire life for a crime that was little more than a temporary lapse in judgment.

If you have been caught with drugs in Central Florida, you may be facing a lengthy prison term that could span years, even decades. Get caught with a large enough quantity of a given drug, whether it is prescription pills, heroin or any other controlled substance, and you will be presumed to have an intent to traffic that drug, whatever your true plan was. A conviction for a serious drug crime can mean real time behind bars, and a permanent black mark on your future. If you are facing a drug charge, take the most important step you can: contact a board certified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, and fight for your future.

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