Opioid Epidemic Leads to Increase in Heroin Arrests
November 30, 2016
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz
Over the last 10 years, an epidemic of opiate and opioid abuse has killed thousands of Americans and may be getting worse. Both state and federal authorities have refined their policing strategy and stepped up enforcement to address the problem, resulting in additional arrests. Authorities are putting more effort into investigating and apprehending the higher-ups in the drug economy in an effort to cut the extensive supply of heroin and other opiates that we see today, especially in the rust belt and the Northeast.
The October arrest of a Michigan woman who was allegedly involved in heroin trafficking resulted in the seizure of 5.6 kilograms of heroin, an amount worth between $500,000 and $1 million on the street.
The Two-Headed Dragon of the Opiate Epidemic A unique characteristic of the opiate problem in the United States is a result of the differences between the two most widely abused opiates in the U.S. Most users first consume opiates legally in the form of prescription pain medicine. The opiates hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) and oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet, Oxycontin) are two of the most widely prescribed narcotic pain relievers in the country. The medicines are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and most commonly obtained by using a legitimate prescription. Drug dealers will pool a network of patients with valid prescriptions to develop a continually replenishing supply of products to sell. These drugs are classified by the DEA as Schedule II and are subject to price volatility as the supply and enforcement characteristics change.
Heroin like that seized in the recent bust is no longer accepted by the DEA or FDA as a legitimate medicine, but it was regarded as a miracle pain reliever when it was first developed in the early 20th century. Heroin is responsible for more overdose deaths each year than any other drug, and it can be substantially cheaper than opioid painkillers because it is relegated to the black market, and no prescription is necessary because it is usually manufactured outside the U.S. and smuggled in. Because of its strength, addictiveness, and cost, many users become addicted to prescription painkillers first and then start using heroin to try and save money as their addiction worsens, and a tolerance of the drugs develops.
Woman Set up in Undercover Sting Operation A local news article discusses the recent arrest, the fruit of a months-long investigation across several states that was being performed by state and federal authorities in an effort to reach the distributors of a specific type of heroin that had been showing up more and more on the streets. According to the article, authorities intercepted a 5.6-kilogram supply of heroin in Texas, but they kept their agents undercover and sold the heroin to an alleged drug trafficker in Michigan who was under surveillance.
Authorities intended to catch the trafficker in the act of selling the drugs to a distributor, but the distributor may have been tipped off and failed to show up at the meeting place, forcing authorities to arrest only the woman and wait for another day to get the distributors. Police made a statement that the operation was a success because a suspected drug trafficker was arrested in the act, and over 10 pounds of heroin is off the streets, although there is no sign that the operation has significantly affected the supply of any drugs in Michigan.
Are You Facing a Michigan Drug Arrest? If you or someone in your family has been arrested or charged with a drug crime, an experienced attorney can help you try to get the charges resolved as smoothly as possible. The Detroit criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven L. Schwartz have represented hundreds of Michigan residents and others accused of state or federal crimes. Our dedicated Oakland County criminal defense team can give you a realistic perspective on the charges you’re facing and pursue all avenues to get the charges reduced, dismissed, or discredited. We have offices in Bloomfield Hills and Franklin, and we assist clients accused of misdemeanors and felonies throughout the Detroit metro area. If you’ve been accused of any crime, contact us by using the online form or by calling (248) 930-5019 to schedule a consultation today.
- Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients Continue Facing Threat of Criminal Prosecution, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published October 27, 2016.
- Michigan Woman Arrested for Alleged DUI After Hit-And-Run Crash, Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published November 15, 2016.