Some of our readers in and around State College may have seen a recent report that a 21-year-old woman was arrested following multiple alleged drug purchases made by a confidential informant orchestrated by Pennsylvania State Police.
Drug use has taken a terrible toll on communities across the Keystone State. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose from heroin and other opioids is now the number one cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania. More than 3,200 people died from drug overdoses in this state in 2015. That represents an increase of over 20 percent from 2014. Many more people are struggling with the impact of drug addiction every day.
Over the past several years, there has been a trend away from treating the commission of minor drug offenses as a criminal matter and toward treating it as a health concern. Many drug users would like to get help with breaking the cycle of addiction, but they may not know where to turn for such assistance. Has this trend been reflected in Pennsylvania law and policy?
Despite a drug epidemic throughout much of the United States, it is not uncommon for students to experiment with drugs while away at college. Although the concept of making money as a drug dealer or distributor may seem to be lucrative for some, it is important to understand that drug trafficking and drug distribution are far more serious crimes than drug possession, and being found guilty may lead to serious and life-long consequences.
Last week, just days before leaving office, President Barack Obama granted clemency to hundreds of federal prisoners, most of whom were in prison for non-violent drug charges. While this may not seem like many, it comes following previous actions by the president, who in total has commuted 1,385 sentences, more than any president before.