Opioid DeathsFor the second year in a row, overdose deaths have exceeded that of vehicle accidents and firearms-related fatalities. The evidence of the heroin pandemic has been mounting for the past two years as police departments have scrambled to obtain Narcan – the drug used to reverse a heroin overdose. However, the problem cannot be solved by law enforcement alone.

According to the Center for Disease Control, and their database is known as CDC Wonder, there were 55,403 deaths related to drug overdoses. That’s a 19.2% increase over 2013’s number, 46,471. Two (2) categories of opioid addiction are driving these numbers. Nearly 13,000 of those deaths were directly related to heroin overdoses and 20,101 related to prescription pain relievers. Opioids fall into the following class of drugs:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl

It is going to take a Herculean effort by law enforcement, lawmakers, medical field  and the community activists to slow down the rising tide of opioid deaths. Law enforcement is not going to be able to arrest its way out of the problem. However, as usual, law enforcement is going to thrust into the center of this storm. Since nearly 36.5% of all opioid deaths are from prescription painkillers, law enforcement needs to start there. As far as I’m concerned, there haven’t been enough days and times for individuals to rid their medicine cabinets of these killers. Some pharmacies are even charging people to dispose of their drugs. That’s not the way to stop these things from falling into the wrong hands.

The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), has developed their own style of Rx drug drop-off box as well as a link to search for a box near you through their website, Rx Drug Drop Box. The cost of the box is nominal, around $800, and they are to be installed at a police facility. Here is an opportunity for departments covered by a Crime Stoppers Program to obtain boxes for each police stationhouse.

Once again, the police find themselves on the frontlines battling a new epidemic. Police administrators must act quickly in order to mitigate the chance of a spike in crime rates. Opioids are a highly addictive drug and users will do most anything to get it. There is a strong possibility that jurisdictions will see a rise in property crime and violence in the very near future.