Heroin Epidemic Research Paper

Annotated Outline

The criminal justice topic selected for this research paper is Heroin Epidemic. The thesis statement: Heroin Epidemic in the United States should be addressed from three perspectives, namely law enforcement, education and prevention, health care policy and treatment options.

Introduction

1.1 The basic information about heroin

1.2 Statistical data on heroin addiction and overdose

1.3  The efforts to deal with the heroin crisis

The major ways to address Heroin Epidemic in the United States

2.1 Educating American citizens on the dangers of using heroin, using biblical and scientific approaches

2.1.1 It is necessary to establish and implement community education plans that will explore the dangers of the usage of heroin, identify the key warning signs and explain the consequences of overdose. Heroin users are considered to be the addicts with a physical dependency on drugs as they cannot stop using heroin for pleasurable activity. They should be provided with practical help from the the Bible regarding addictive thoughts and behaviours. “Christian churches have consistently preached against abuse of alcohol and other drugs” (Prior & Crofts, 2016, p. 313). Drug addiction is widely accepted as a dramatic impairment of the will of the addict.

2.1.2 Due attention should be paid to providing treatment options; ensuring the work of support groups, and availability of the proper resources and prevention opportunities (Kanouse & Compton, 2015;  Kolodny et al., 2015).

2.2 Strengthening health care policy and treatment options

2.2.1 It is crucial to make improvements in health care legislation, education and funding to ensure that Heroin Epidemic is properly controlled (Kolodny et al., 2015).

2.2.2 Health care policy implementation requires coordination of efforts between the government,  medical and treatment agencies, and law enforcement agencies to effectively utilize data which can help to combat the heroin crisis (Kolodny et al., 2015).

2.3 Improving law enforcement strategies aimed at Heroin trafficking, interdiction and diversion

2.3.1 Federal and state law enforcement agencies should be focused on collaborative efforts to prosecute heroin dealing organizations in the United States and improved community involvement to address Heroin Epidemic (Kanouse & Compton, 2015; Kolodny et al., 2015).

2.3.2 In order to deal with the heroin crisis problem, law enforcement agencies should work with the courts seeking diversion through enhanced treatment and rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration (Davis et al., 2015; Kanouse & Compton, 2015).

Conclusion

There is a need for addressing Heroin Epidemic in the United States from three perspectives: law enforcement, education and prevention, health care policy and treatment options. Each of the perspectives requires developing and implementing a number of effective strategies, including  law enforcement strategies, education and prevention initiatives, health care policy and treatment strategies.

Abstract

This paper explores one of the acute public health issues in the United States, namely the Heroin Epidemic rise. Despite increasing scientific evidence that heroin addiction is a treatable disease of the brain, many heroin users fail to receive the proper treatment. They are involved in the criminal justice system because of the heroin-seeking behaviours and active participation in various illegal activities. The government, law enforcement and public health authorities should work collaboratively to address Heroin Epidemic through various initiatives. Treatment of heroin users allows reducing criminal behaviours and improving public health. Just as public health authorities find approaches to address other disease outbreaks, collaborative efforts should be made to reduce the incidence of heroin addiction, ensure early identification of heroin addiction cases, and provide access to effective treatment methods.

Introduction

Heroin Epidemic is not a new phenomenon in the United States. It is caused by addiction to heroin, one of illegal drugs that is considered to be highly addictive in the group of opioid drugs. Heroin overdose can lead to breathing problems, coma and even to lethal outcomes. The risk of overdose is increased if people use heroin along with other illegal drugs and alcohol (Today’s Heroin Epidemic, 2017). Besides, heroin users are at risk of various viral infections (HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C and B) and bacterial infections. Currently, the government, law enforcement and public health authorities pay due attention to the unprecedented increase in morbidity and mortality associated with heroin use. The number of the users of heroin has increased significantly since 2001. In 2015, about 12, 989 people died from heroin overdoses, according to the statistical data provided by the U. S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Today’s Heroin Epidemic, 2017). According to researchers, the efforts to deal with the heroin crisis have been focused mainly on reduction of non-medical heroin use (Kolodny et al., 2015). There is a need for preventing heroine addiction through treatment options developed for both medical and non-medical heroin users. Researchers suggest that “over-prescribing of OPRs has led to a sharp increase in the prevalence of opioid addiction, which in turn has been associated with a rise in overdose deaths and heroin use” (Kolodny et al., 2015, p. 563). The initiatives supported by the White House, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other relevant organizations are aimed at combating the rising rates of morbidity and mortality associated with heroin usage and providing support to heroin users in prevention of criminal activity and physical dependency on this drug (Kanouse & Compton, 2015). It is crucial to curb this epidemic by joint actions. The thesis statement: Heroin Epidemic in the United States should be addressed from three perspectives, namely law enforcement, education and prevention, health care policy and treatment options.

The major ways to address Heroin Epidemic in the United States

There are several ways to address Heroin Epidemic faced by Americans. It is necessary to educate Americans on the dangers of using heroin, placing emphasis on both biblical and scientific approaches; strengthen health care policy and treatment options;  and improve law enforcement strategies aimed at heroin trafficking, interdiction and diversion. These practices contribute to enhancement of public health, reduction of crime rate and establishing the proper control over social activities that affect Heroin Epidemic in the United States. 

Educating American citizens on the dangers of using heroin, using biblical and scientific approaches

It is necessary to establish and implement community education plans that will explore the dangers of the usage of heroin, identify the key warning signs and explain the consequences of overdose. Heroin users are considered to be the addicts with a physical dependency on drugs as they cannot stop using heroin for pleasurable activity. They should be provided with practical help from the the Bible regarding addictive thoughts and behaviours. “Christian churches have consistently preached against abuse of alcohol and other drugs” (Prior & Crofts, 2016, p. 313). Drug addiction is widely accepted as a dramatic impairment of the will of the addict (Prior & Crofts, 2016).

In addition, due attention should be paid to providing treatment options; ensuring the work of support groups, and availability of the proper resources and prevention opportunities. The fact that heroin addiction has reached epidemic levels across the United States means that existing treatment methods are insufficient to deal with heroin abuse. It is necessary to increase access to treatment in order to work with heroin abusers more profoundly (Kanouse & Compton, 2015). According to researchers, “coordinated efforts from federal agencies, state agencies, health care insurers, and health care providers are required to address the needs of millions of Americans now struggling with this chronic, life-threatening disease” (Kolodny et al., 2015, p. 574).

Strengthening health care policy and treatment options

It is crucial to make improvements in health care legislation, education and funding to ensure that Heroin Epidemic is properly controlled. Currently, health care legislation is ineffective because of the inability to respond to the heroin overdosing problem which leads to deaths of many addicts. State governments and public health care providers play a central role in prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts for Heroin Epidemic. It is vital to increase access to naloxine, increase control of pain management and ensure access to non-opioid therapeutic methods (Kolodny et al., 2015).

In addition, health care policy implementation requires coordination of efforts between the government,  medical and treatment agencies, and law enforcement agencies to effectively utilize data which can help to combat the heroin crisis (Kolodny et al., 2015). Due to promotion of mandatory  education, it is possible to provide training on pain management and heroine usage, including online educational options. In fact, coordination of data sharing between different stakeholders allows improve exchange of valuable data on heroin addiction in order to assess the trends of community involvement in drug prevention programs and improve law enforcement responses. Due to tracking of heroin deaths and treatment, some changes in health care policy can be initiated (Kolodny et al., 2015; Kanouse & Compton, 2015). Researchers suggest that “just as public health authorities would approach other disease outbreaks, efforts must be made to reduce the incidence of opioid addiction, identify cases early, and ensure access to effective treatment” (Kolodny et al., 2015, p. 574).

Improving law enforcement strategies aimed at heroin trafficking, interdiction and diversion

Federal and state law enforcement agencies should be focused on collaborative efforts to prosecute heroin dealing organizations in the United States and improved community involvement to address Heroin Epidemic. The law enforcement authorities comply with the drug control rules and regulations, providing anti-heroin trafficking activities, exploring the origins of heroin distribution, preparation and usage. The history of criminalization shows that there is a close link between drugs and crime. Drug-related crimes should be prevented is different ways. As a rule, drug users are driven to criminal activity. Hence, the improved law enforcement strategies aimed at heroin trafficking, interdiction and diversion will be useful in prevention of heroin users’ involvement in criminal activities. Law enforcement agencies should be based on encouragement of community involvement in the programs that help to combat the Heroin Epidemic. Community involvement should be supported by local authorities through promotion education opportunities regarding the problem of heroin addiction (Kanouse & Compton, 2015; Kolodny et al., 2015).

In order to deal with the heroin crisis problem, law enforcement agencies should work with the courts seeking diversion through enhanced treatment and rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. According to researchers, “Opioid overdose is reversible through the timely administration of naloxone, which has been used by emergency medical services for decades” (Davis et al., 2015, p. 1).  Law enforcement personnel serve the role of the first emergency responders who arrive at an overdose scene. It stands to reason that law enforcement personnel should be equipped with naloxone to ensure that heroine users will have an opportunity to treat addition (Davis et al., 2015). It is possible to enhance penalties for major heroin traffickers in order to reduce crime rate. Anyway, the law enforcement personnel should work with non-violent drug offenders, making them realize the need for participation in treatment programs (Davis et al., 2015; Kanouse & Compton, 2015). Additional drug courts should be focused on coordination with treatment.

Conclusion

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that the problem of addiction to heroin has become a national public health problem which requires the proper solutions. There is a need for addressing Heroin Epidemic in the United States from three perspectives: law enforcement, education and prevention, health care policy and treatment options. Each of the perspectives requires developing and implementing a number of effective strategies, including  law enforcement strategies, education and prevention initiatives, health care policy and treatment strategies. There is much evidence that the rise in heroin overdose has been fuelled by inappropriate prescription.  The increased sales of prescription opioid painkillers lead to negative health outcomes. Currently, public health interventions are ineffective to target the problem of heroin addiction with health care and law enforcement strategies. In other words, Americans are faced with a serious problem that can be resolved through involvement of diverse group of stakeholders, including law enforcement personnel, healthcare providers and policy makers. The identification and implementation of comprehensive solutions are based on collaborative efforts.

References

Davis, C. S., Carr, D., Southwell, J. K., Beletsky, L. (2015). “Engaging Law Enforcement in Overdose Reversal Initiatives: Authorization and Liability for Naloxone Administration,” American Journal of Public Health, 8: 1-12.

Kanouse, A. B. & Compton, B. (2015). “The Epidemic of Prescription Opioid Abuse, the Subsequent Rising Prevalence of Heroin Use, and the Federal Response,” Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 29(2): 102-114.

Kolodny, A., Courtwright, D. T., Hwang, C. S., Kreiner, P., Eadie, J. L., Clark, T. W., Alexander, G. C. (2015). “The Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: A Public Health Approach to an Epidemic of Addiction,” Annual Review of Public Health, 36: 559-574.

 Prior, J. & Crofts, P. (2016). “Shooting up illicit drugs with God and the State: the legal–spatial constitution of Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre as a sanctuary,” Geographical Research, 54(3): 313-323.

Today’s Heroin Epidemic. (2017). Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from:<https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/heroin.html>

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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