New Drug Creates Crime and Health Problem in Calgary

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Drug offences remain a common cause for arrests in Calgary; often these arrests are for simple possession of a controlled substance such as cocaine or marijuana, however more serious charges for drug trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking are also laid against Calgary citizens all too frequently. Though drug use is increasingly seen and dealt with as a public health issue, it is still criminalized, and the sale or distribution of controlled substances is still taken very seriously by law enforcement.

Calgary Police and public health officials are becoming increasingly worried about a drug that has only arrived in Calgary relatively recently, and that is responsible for numerous deaths—more than homicides and traffic collisions combined, according to officials. The drug, fentanyl, is a narcotic pain reliever in the same class of drugs as morphine and heroin—opiates—but it is far more potent than these drugs. This has led to numerous overdoses by unsuspecting Calgary citizens.

Why Criminalizing Drugs Doesn't Help Calgary

Why would people choose to take fentanyl if it's so dangerous, and why has it only recently come to Calgary? The answer lies in the criminalization at least the increased restriction—on OxyContin, another opioid developed as a painkiller and legally available only with a prescription, but that was often used as a recreational drug and that led to many drug dependencies. OxyContin is no longer legally available in Calgary, having been replaced by a version considered less addictive and that isn't as conducive to recreational use.

Fentanyl users report similar experiences to taking OxyContin, and so this new and far more potent drug has moved in to fill the void created by OxyContin's absence. Rather than solving the problem of addictions and overdoses, banning OxyContin altogether actually made the problem worse—there are still people with dependency problems or who otherwise determine that their recreational drug use is worth violating the laws against drug possession, and now they can only access a far more dangerous drug.

Addressing drug use on a city-wide scale has met with far greater success when the methods used were public health and education based; law enforcement solutions don't tend to make a significant impact. The criminalization of drug possession and the risk of being charged with a drug-related offence keeps many people from seeking treatment for dependencies, and as this case shows, the impact of increased criminal attention can be the opposite of what was intended, leaving Calgary with a more dangerous predicament that is just as widespread.

You Don't Have to Face Your Calgary Drug Charge Alone

If you or a family member has been charged with the possession of a controlled substance or with drug trafficking in the Greater Calgary Area, you are entitled to speak with a criminal defence lawyer before your case proceeds. Contact the office of Calgary defence lawyer Susan Karpa today for your free consultation, and get the help you need to overcome these charges and put your life back in order.

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