In Georgia and across the U.S., opioid abuse has become a significant problem that has reached epidemic status. Based on a report from the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, President Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency.

Each day in America, an average of 142 Americans die of a drug overdose. From 1999 to 2015, more than 560,000 people in the U.S. died due to drug overdoses, a figure that is larger than the entire population of Atlanta, GA. These numbers make drug overdoses one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. as deaths due to drug overdoses surpass the combined death totals of gun homicides and vehicle accidents.

It is no surprise that there are many individuals facing drug charges because 27 million people reported either using illegal drugs or abusing prescription drugs in 2015. In that same year, nearly two-thirds of drug overdoses were linked to prescription drugs such as Percocet, OxyContin, heroin and fentanyl. There is no other country in the world that uses more opioids than the U.S.

In the future, drug overdoses are predicted to remain the leading cause of death in individuals under 50 years of age. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are expected to be a leading contributor in these overdose deaths. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, overdose deaths related to fentanyl doubled with an uptick in cocaine and methamphetamine-related deaths.

Individuals who have been found in possession of illegal drugs can face big fines and significant jail time. Controlled substance violations are among the most complicated criminal violations that one can face in the legal system. It may be important to have a drug crimes lawyer to help individuals through the process and work to ensure a favorable outcome.