According to recent research, drug overdose causes more Americans under the age of 50 to die than anything else — including firearms and motor vehicle accidents. This has been attributed to the global issue of opioid addiction.

Some solutions have been proposed to help those who are struggling with addiction be safer, seek help and prevent an overdose from taking another life. Here are a few to keep in mind.

Drug court

Some defendants facing drug charges may be able eligible to enroll in drug court as an alternative to serving jail time or other criminal sentences for their actions. These programs were established to offer help to those who committed a crime because of an addition they couldn’t control. Drug court typically involves addiction treatment, support group meetings, regular drug tests and regular court appearances.

Syringe exchange programs

Syringe exchange programs (SEMs) offer users clean syringes and needles for free in place of used ones. The kits that users receive often contain treatment references for opioid addiction. However, the aim of the program is not necessarily to prevent users from continuing their addiction but to prevent shared needles from spreading deadly blood-bourn illnesses like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Kits provided at SEMS may also include other resources, such as Naloxone, a nasal spray that can revive a person from a narcotic overdose in an emergency. SEM availability is not likely in rural areas.

Overdose Immunity

You can gain immunity from minor drug charges if you are calling to report your own drug overdose or the drug overdose of a friend. However, it is important that you provide your name, cooperate with the authorities and stay with your friend until the authorities and/or emergency responders arrive at the scene.

Legal Counsel

For those who are facing drug charges, seeking the help of a criminal defense lawyer is paramount in ensuring your case is handled appropriately. An attorney can advise you of your options and help you fight for the best outcome.