Drug charges and Act 139
Drug charges, such as possession of or intent to distribute heroin, come with serious consequences if suspects are convicted. People who are charged with these types of drug crimes will likely seek a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent them in court. Because of the rising severity of heroin- and other opiate-related drug crimes, judges are coming down hard on people who are arrested for such crime. Statistics recently released by the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy are showing a scary trend in relationship to this country’s heroin and opiate epidemic. The numbers, which come out of 2013, show the number of fatal heroin overdoses occurrences rose more than 34% in that year to nearly 6000. Western Pennsylvania and small towns around Pittsburgh serve as a microcosm to this epidemic. Small outliers like Duquesne, Kittanning, West Mifflin, Ford City, Ambridge, and Zelienople have all had major arrests take place where assailants were convicted of possession and/or intent to distribute large amounts of heroin. It’s a sad shame, but many young people are losing the battle with heroin addiction. In many cases these overdoses could be avoided, but family or friends that are with the victim at the time of the overdose are scared to call authorities for fear of ending up in jail. However, recent legislation has been established as an answer to this problem. Known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Act 139, it provides immunity to people who call 911-emergency or file an official report about someone else’s drug overdose. This also applies to people who report their own drug overdoses. Under Act 139, these people have immunity from parole and/or probation violations as well. Because emergency medical technicians and emergency room doctors have quick access to Narcan, an overdose reversal medicine, the newly legislated Act 139 should incite people to call emergency services immediately after they realize they or a friend may be in trouble. If you or someone you care about struggles with addiction to heroin, it’s important to know about Act 139. It’s also important to do what you can to get help for yourself or for that person in your life. If you have been arrested on drug charges, call Pittsburgh drug crimes lawyer Gary Gerson for a free consultation at (412) 281-3380 today.