American Epidemic: Heroin In The News

It is no secret that America is struggling with widespread opioid addiction. Heroin in particular is having a devastating impact; it seems like everywhere you look, someone is either being arrested in connection to the buying and selling of the debilitating drug, or someone else has died as a result of an accidental overdose.

New York is no different, although one story coming out of Cohoes describes the (unfortunately) common situation resulting from an uncommon source: the woman arrested on drug-related charges? She’s a lawyer.

Danielle Barker-Lange was arrested on August 24th for selling heroin out of her home and law office. The 38-year-old was the owner of Lange and Associates, and was accused of having “38 bags of heroin, 20 sublingual strips of Suboxone, Xanax, oxycodone, and amphetamine pills.” On top of the 13 drug-related offenses she was charged with, she was also seen operating a motor vehicle despite the fact that her license had been suspended due to a previous DWAI (driving while ability impaired).

The irony of that story may be ridiculous enough to warrant a chuckle in disbelief, but the implications are serious; if heroin can infiltrate the lives of legal-minded individuals, there’s no telling where its limits lie. In 2015, it was estimated that around 21,000 adolescents had used heroin within the last 12 months. The very same year saw approximately 81,326 emergency room visits due to unintentional, heroin-related poisonings — nearly 26 out of every 100,000 people.

Fortunately, this country possesses a strong police force dedicated to stopping the accessibility of the deadly drug. In 2015, law enforcement officers made an astounding 10,797,088 arrests, with the highest percentage of those (1,488,707 arrests) being connected to drug abuse violations. The vigilance of these officers hasn’t abated, if the recent bust in Texas is anything to go by.

A recent crackdown in Corpus Christi, a city on along Texas’ southeastern coast, saw 59 law enforcement officers from 13 separate agencies working together to search for 17 individuals they believed were involved in either the sale or purchase of heroin in the area. Five of the 17 were arrested, along with four others who had outstanding warrants. Captain Ed Shannon, from the Corpus Christi police’s narcotics and vice investigations division, explained the goals of the operation.

“All of these people we are going after are connected to the heroin trade. This to say to heroin users: We are going to fight this, we are going to make an impact and we are going to try and get users help and put dealers in jail.”

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