Illinois’ Opioid Problem

Did you know that the number of people dying from heroin is steadily increasing? In the state of Illinois, there were 1,187 deaths from heroin overdoses in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Synthetic opioids claimed 1,251 people’s lives, and 623 more overdosed on prescription opioids in the same year. That’s a total of 2,202 people who died from opioid overdoses in one year, which is almost double the number from 2014. Such a big jump in such a short amount of time poses a concern for the future of the state.

Opioid drugs are dangerous for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re highly addictive. People who become used to prescription drugs such as OxyContin® or Vicodin® sometimes switch over to heroin because of the similar sensations between the drugs. Once people are addicted to heroin, it is extremely difficult to quit. Withdrawal symptoms from heroin include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Cold flashes
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness/trouble sleeping

Secondly, heroin users who are frequently high develop a tolerance to the drug, which leads them to need more of it to experience the same effects. This can easily cause them to overdose. Lastly, heroin is often laced with other substances that clog up arteries. People who inject heroin into their bloodstream are also susceptible to HIV and other diseases if they share their equipment with others.

Getting Caught

People who are caught with possession of heroin face harsh penalties under the law. Heroin is a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no apparent medical benefit, is highly addictive, and can easily be abused. Bruno Law Offices, in Urbana, Illinois, lists the penalties associated with possession and trafficking of heroin. Penalties for possession of a Schedule 1 drug are the most severe because they can cause the most harm. Penalties range from one year in jail to fifty, and fines of $25,000 to $200,000, depending on how much heroin was in the subject’s possession.

Trafficking heroin is another story altogether. Trafficking means that it was in your possession and you intended to sell or distribute it. Trafficking just 15-100 grams of heroin can land you in jail for up to thirty years. Illinois is one of the toughest states on possession and trafficking of heroin, though the entire country takes it very seriously. 

If you’re ever caught with heroin, it’s important that you immediately get in contact with a lawyer who has experience with heroin defense cases. It’s the only way you’ll be able to lessen your sentence. A lawyer who has been in the middle of cases like your own before will be able to plan your defense more effectively than anyone else.

Raising awareness of the dangers of heroin is necessary to stop it from killing more people. Eradicating opioid use completely is impossible, but by promoting rehabilitation for people who are struggling, hopefully, we’ll see a decrease in heroin use in the coming years.