It seems like every few years, one drug falls out of favor, and another takes it’s place. In the past, serious concerns have been raised about LSD, heroin, cocaine, meth, and more. The current drug of concern is fentanyl.
Technically speaking, fentanyl is a legal drug. It’s a synthetic opioid that’s used to treat pain. When used properly, it improves the quality of life for those who struggle with chronic pain. The problem is that fentanyl has become a street drug. The illegal use of fentanyl has led to a steady increase in overdose deaths during the past decade. There is even a current case that’s gaining a great deal of national media attention in which a wife is accused of using fentanyl to murder her spouse.
Using fentanyl without the use of a prescription is illegal, but the legal consequences of using fentanyl are in the process of becoming more severe.
The House of Representatives recently passed legislation that’s specifically geared towards individuals who abuse fentanyl. It is an issue that has helped unite both Democrat and Republican politicians.
One of the main purposes behind the new legislation is to have fentanyl listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. If the legislation becomes law, it means that the prison sentences for fentanyl related crimes will become significantly more severe. While the bill still has to gain both Congressional and Presidential approval before it becomes law, it does appear that the White House is in favor of the bill.
At this point, if you’re caught with a small amount of fentanyl and don’t have a prescription, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. If the quantity is larger, you’ll face felony charges. The biggest decision maker between a misdemeanor and felony is the amount of fentanyl you are in possession of and if you have it for personal use or if evidence suggest that you’re involved with the sale or trafficking of fentanyl.
It is not unusual for someone who is in possession of a large amount of fentanyl to be convicted of a drug crime and be sentenced to up to ten years in prison. If you’re accused of trafficking fentanyl, you will face federal charges and could be sentenced to spend the rest of your life in prison and/or fined $1 million and $50 million.