Opioid deaths in Alabama on the rise

As of 2016, there has been more than 200 heroin or fentanyl related deaths in Jefferson County alone, and the amount of people that have died from fentanyl has more than doubled in the last two years. The “Gray Death” has plagued states such as Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio, killing hundreds of people a week. Gray Death is a mix of heroin, fentanyl, elephant tranquilizer, and a synthetic opioid that can kill a person with a single dose.

Gray Death is a highly dangerous and highly addictive drug. “This is not a drug that you use to get high — if you put this drug into your body you will die, it will kill you,” Clay Hammac, from the Shelby Country Drug Enforcement Task Force, told ABC 33/40. Multiple families have been left broken by the repercussions of this drug. As a result, law enforcement is enacting a change that pushes mandatory minimum sentences for drug charges. An example of this is a life sentence without parole for possession of 28 grams or more of fentanyl.

As shown by official CDC data, heroin and opioid deaths have skyrocketed in the past five years, growing at uncomfortably fast rates. The increase in opioid related deaths is especially troublesome because opioids are cheaper and more accessible. According to the CDC, nine in ten people that use heroin will likely use another drug such as fentanyl or other opioids. This only increases a heroine users chance of death.

Unless law enforcement takes strides in combatting this issue, the heroin and fentanyl epidemic will continue to grow exponentially in our state. Although some changes have been enacted, serious actions need to be taken to the stop the flow of drugs in Alabama.

About the Author: This article was written by Logan Barrett and Mallory Foley. Logan is an intern at the Reid Law Firm and a rising junior at Auburn University majoring in Political Science. Logan may be reached at Logan.reidlawfirm@gmail.com. Mallory is an intern at the Reid Law Firm and a Sophomore at the University of Alabama majoring in Accounting. To contact Malory, please email Mallory.reidlawfirm@gmail.com.

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