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Heroin use and the criminal justice system

New Jersey residents understand that the public perception of illegal drug use has been going through some changes in recent years, both good and bad. For some people, there is support for decriminalizing marijuana possession and use, with many touting the positive medical purposes for the drug as a prime example of why it should not be illegal.

Two states, Washington and Colorado, even went so far as to allow the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational use. The federal government has mostly signaled that it will not interfere in these types of situations, despite the fact that there are federal laws which prohibit the possession of marijuana.

However, there is one drug that will most likely never have any popular support: heroin. Heroin is a so-called "hard" drug, and many people who use this illegal drug become heavily dependent on it. Heroin is an opiate, as are other common drugs, such as Vicodin and morphine.

Statistics show that about 1.6 percent of Americans has used heroin at some point in their lives. That may seem like a small percentage, but consider this: nearly 23 percent of heroin users become dependent on the drug.

These statistics may change over the course of the next few years. Any of our New Jersey readers who are familiar with previous posts here know that heroin use is on the rise again. Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have been seeing more evidence of heroin drug trafficking and use. As the statistics for heroin use rise, it is only a logical connection that the number of arrests involving heroin will be on the rise as well.

Facing drug related charges could be a serious situation no matter what type of drug they are accused of possessing or selling. Those accused of a drug crime should understand their rights and that they are entitled to a criminal defense. Obtaining legal guidance could help a defendant better understand their situation and assist them on their defense path.

Source:, "DrugFacts: Heroin," Accessed March 15, 2015

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