The election featured a great deal of discussion about how to help communities in areas like central Pennsylvania, which are struggling with heroin and prescription painkiller addiction and overdoses.
Individuals and families in towns like State College are crying out for a better response to the epidemic from law enforcement and elected officials. Fortunately, it seems that they may be starting to listen.
Law Enforcement Needs To Treat Addiction As Illness
In a recent public appearance, the incoming attorney general of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, said a multidisciplinary response was needed with authorities from all of Pennsylvania's counties working together.
Additionally, Shapiro, medical experts and prosecutors throughout the state have said there is a need to treat addiction as an illness rather than a crime. This is a smart approach, because many people arrested for drug crimes like heroin possession do not get the help they need behind bars.
Prescription painkillers are dangerous because they are so addictive. And addiction can happen to anyone. Additionally, the affordability of heroin makes it easy for people to turn to if they cannot get their hands on painkillers.
If addicts can spend time detoxing and making a focused effort to get sober and surround themselves with a support system, they have a much better chance of moving forward with their lives in a positive way.
Remember, There Are Still Legal Consequences For Drug Possession
Even though the state legislature has made efforts to restrict the availability of prescription painkillers, there have been no specifics offered about a changing approach to law enforcement efforts. That is why it is important to remember that police can still arrest you if you are in possession of heroin or painkillers that you do not have a prescription for.
If you are arrested, it is important to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney may be able to explore alternatives, such as rehab, to get you the help you need.