Opioid abuse is negatively affecting people in California, but it’s important to note that the way these drugs and drug offenses are handled is changing. The opioid epidemic has caused a health crisis, but the state has determined that it’s necessary to invest in treatment and prevention to help people affected by opioids.
In July 2021, A proposed $26 billion settlement was made by McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal and Johnson & Johnson over their role in the opioid epidemic. That money could go on to affect how people are treated when they are found in possession of opioids or are dealing with drug addiction.
More recent news shows that California will receive around $2 billion in the opioid case settlement. Much of that money would go to help people with addictions get the help they need. This could include programs for Naloxone, education and even changes to the criminal justice and drug court system.
Drug courts may help people accused of possessing opioids
Many opioids are Schedule II drugs, which are illegal to possess without a prescription. California has a drug court system in place now that aims to provide an alternative to the traditional court system. High-risk and high-need individuals with substance use disorders may be able to go through the alternative drug court system to get help instead of being incarcerated.
The drug court’s design is intended to help reduce the risk of recidivism and substance abuse. It is also designed to increase the likelihood of helping the individual rehabilitate from substance abuse and get treatment for any underlying causes that contributed to being arrested in the first place.
With the additional money coming into the state from the settlement, these programs could be further supported, helping those accused of drug crimes for opioid use or abuse get more help. Drug courts are effective and provide an excellent way for people to get substance abuse treatment when it’s needed. If you’re dealing with a drug charge, it may be worth looking into the alternative of going through a drug court to get the help you need and to reduce the penalties you face for drug possession.