Fentanyl, a man-made opiate, is a pain reliever and often used in combination with anesthesia. It's common in hospitals, thanks to the small amount needed to provide patients with pain relief.
The trouble with Fentanyl is that it has hit the streets, and many drugs are now laced with it. Unlike other drugs on the black market, overdoses are possible with as little as 2 mg of Fentanyl. It can pass through the skin, too, making it dangerous for emergency and first-responders to help those who have suffered from overdoses.
Does federal law address Fentanyl misuse in the United States?
Yes, it does as of July 2018. Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug and Fentanyl analogue is listed as a Schedule I drug. The penalties for first offenses of possessing either in quantities of 40 to 399 gms of Fentanyl or 10 to 99 grams of Fentanyl analogue is a minimum of five years in prison with a maximum of no more than 40 years imprisonment. Fines may be as high as $2 million for individuals. If you possess higher quantities of the drugs than above, you face a minimum of 10 years in prison. If possession or distribution led to a death or serious injury, then the minimum sentence is no less than 20 years. Fines start at $4 million for individuals on a first offense.
Second offense felony penalties are always much more significant and something you need to fight against. Second offenses for smaller quantities are no less than 10 years in prison and up to life in prison if someone is hurt or killed. Second offenses for higher quantities are no less than 20 years in prison but up to life. Fines are up to $8 million per individual for higher quantities of Fentanyl.
These federal penalties are in place to prevent people from making the mistake of possessing this extremely dangerous pair of drugs.
What should you do if you're accused of possessing or misusing Fentanyl?
Because of the Opioid Crisis, the United States government is strict on those who misuse or abuse Fentanyl. It's important to know where you stand in terms of the charges against you and to know what kinds of penalties you could face. Every case is different, so designing a strong defense is important to help you avoid a jail sentence or paying hefty fines that could create a lifetime of debt.