Opioid abuse and addiction have caught the attention of the authorities from coast to coast — and they’re cracking down on everyone even remotely connected to opioid use. Whether you’re involved with large-scale drug trafficking or you’re merely an addict who sells a few pills to feed your own addiction, you could easily wind up serving time.

The big problem? All the tough penalties that were levied over the years toward drug crimes have failed to stop the drug crisis from growing. Decades of legal reforms have filled the prisons — but they haven’t stopped people from getting addicted and dying from drug overdoses.

In addition, there are many studies that have concluded that the “War on Drugs” has failed, and prison is not the best solution. Putting energy and funding into drug addiction treatment and social services is a much better solution.

A new study highlights just how far short the nation is, as a whole, in achieving a workable method of helping people beat their addictions. Government restrictions require doctors to get a federal waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, a methadone alternative that’s currently the leading medication being used to combat opioid addiction — and that’s making it difficult for doctors to help their patients. Currently, only about one out of every 10 doctors is authorized to prescribe the drug.

Opioid addiction is one of the many ways that people get involved in the drug trade in the first place. With treatment, they stand a chance to break free. Without it, they may be facing arrest and confinement on drug charges, fines, the loss of their immigration status, inclusion, job loss, a criminal background, the inability to vote or own a firearm and the inability to obtain certain kinds of employment.

Don’t take chances with your future. If you’ve been arrested on a drug crime related to opioid addiction, find out everything you need to know about your legal rights and options.