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Heroin deaths reach all-time high in Iowa City

People in Iowa may have heard about the growing heroin epidemic across the United States that has continued to claim the lives of hundreds of people. Iowa has not been immune to this epidemic, as the number of heroin-related deaths so far in 2014 show that it has impacted Johnson County and Iowa City in a big way. In the first six months of 2014, 10 people have already died due to heroin, which is more than triple the number of all such deaths in all of 2013.

Perhaps surprisingly, not all of these deaths are among young people. Since 2010, about half of all heroin-related deaths occurred among people between the ages of 41 and 60. Perhaps even more troublesome is the reason that many of these people turn to heroin in the first place.

Data indicates that a lot of heroin users may have switched to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, which they may have been prescribed for an injury or illness. After becoming addicted to these drugs, they may turn to heroin as a potentially cheaper and easier way to satisfy their addiction.

Heroin is a dangerous problem, but is the solution to lock up heroin users for felony possession? According to Johnson County's public health director, the answer is a resounding no. In a recent interview, he said that it is not possible to eliminate the problem through enforcement alone --it needs to be tackled through coordination because enforcement is only one part of the equation.

Drug offenses can carry significant and serious consequences. Consulting an experienced attorney can help set forth the most appropriate plan of action and, with the words of the public health director in mind, possible pave a path to recovery.

Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen "National heroin epidemic hits Johnson County," Mitchell Schmidt, July 25, 2014

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