This week kicks off Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week across the state of Maryland.
Officials are trying to teach that prevention is better than a cure when it comes to drug addiction.
It’s a nationwide campaign supported both by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to raise awareness about heroin and opioid addiction.
“The motivation for this is the number of deaths attributable to heroin overdoses have tripled just in a four-year period. It’s been a remarkable increase in the use of heroin and in overdose deaths that result in heroin,” said U.S. Attorney Ron Rosenstein in the Maryland District.
Officials said while the numbers of fatalities from drug overdoses have decreased in Frederick County, the number of overdoses in general have increased compared to the numbers last year.
U.S. Attorney Ron Rosenstein said painkillers are a big reason for the heroin problem and because of this, they’re cracking down on some of society’s elite.
“We are increasingly prosecuting those who are distributors of heroin and opioid drugs. We brought cases last year against doctors who have prescribed to opioid drugs without legitimate medical needs, pharmacists who have diverted drugs to illegal use and distributors,” Rosenstein said.
Officials said they are especially looking at cases where people have died from a drug overdose. They said if the distributor is found, they will charge them with murder.
The Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week lasts until this Saturday, Sept. 24.