One look at the media and it is clear: many people in Canada don't think too highly of people charged with drug crimes. Many see them as ruining society, willing to rip apart families and lives with addiction just to make some money. And if that is the general public's attitude toward people suspected of drug crimes, one can only imagine what law enforcement and prosecutors think. What many people fail to realize, however, is that many of the people who are arrested, charged and convicted of drug crimes are often addicts themselves.
And it is not just hard drugs like cocaine that Canadians are becoming addicted to, although there certainly are a number of people whose lives have been shaped by the drug. The kinds of drugs that have become increasingly problematic in Canadian society as of late are prescription drugs.
In fact, the number of overdoses on prescription painkillers is higher than the number of Canadians who die from cocaine and heroin combined.
According to a new study out of McGill University, the problem lies with opioids. These are powerful and highly addictive substances, something that prescribing physicians should be aware of. Yet there has been a "dramatic increase" in opioid prescriptions in the last several years. It is no wonder that people are becoming so addicted.
Certainly drug use can cause damage, and not just to an individual's physical body, but it is important to remember that many of the people in Toronto who are picked up on drug charges are likely in need of treatment and support to combat addiction.
Source: Toronto Sun, "More Canadians overdose on painkillers than heroin and cocaine combined: Study," June 19, 2014