Possession of Fentanyl
The drug fentanyl was artificially created as a pain reliever and can be used for anesthesia when mixed with the right medications. Although the drug was manufactured with good intentions, over the years the recreational use of fentanyl has skyrocketed in the United States. In fact, statistics indicated that in 2016 fentanyl and its analogues were the most common cause of overdose-related deaths in the nation. These shocking statistics did plateau after this period, but the number of overdose fentanyl-related deaths is still exceedingly high. From September 2019 to August 2020, the CDC National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) recorded 88,295 overdose deaths. These numbers shocked officials and scientists as it was almost 19,000 more than the year prior. With such startling numbers, legislators have implemented harsh penalties on those who possess fentanyl. Possession of fentanyl is a crime in Florida that carries felony-level consequences. That is why if you’ve been charged with possessing fentanyl, it’s imperative you seek legal counsel immediately. Having an experienced drug defense attorney on your side will give you a significant advantage as well as a higher chance of reduced or dismissed charges.
Drug Defense Lawyer for Fentanyl Charges in Hernando County, FL
The majority of “offenders” who are in possession of fentanyl are simply struggling with a chemical dependency. More often than not, this dependency likely began when a doctor prescribed them a similar pain reliever. Many people charged with possession of fentanyl only sought the illegal drug once their refills ran out. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation and needs legal counsel, we urge you to contact The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A.. Drug defense lawyer Ashley Aulls of The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. has practiced law since 1996. He understands how serious these charges can be and will do everything in his power to obtain the best possible result for your case. Call The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. today at (352) 593-4115 to set up your first consultation free. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. accepts clients throughout Hernando County, Sumter County, and Citrus County, Florida. Information Center:
- Is Fentanyl Legal in Florida?
- What is the Penalty for Fentanyl Possession in Florida?
- What is the Opioid Crisis in the United States?
- Additional Resources
Is Fentanyl Legal in Florida?
The drug fentanyl was first created by a chemist named Paul Janssen in 1960. The substance was approved for medical use and quickly utilized for pain management. Over the years, fentanyl began to break into the recreational illegal drug market as there was a high demand for opiates. There wasn’t enough pure heroin or opiates to go around, so fentanyl filled in that “need” from drug users. Quickly, the recreational use of fentanyl spiraled out of control. In 2016, the CDC recorded that fentanyl and its analogues were the leading cause for overdose deaths in the United States. Despite this, doctors were still prescribing the opioid as it was the 250th most commonly prescribed medication in 2017. This created a landslide of people struggling with their addictions, caused by their doctors, seeking out more fentanyl on the streets. Legislators had to act fast in an effort to stop the illegal usage of fentanyl. In response, law officials around the United States passed bills prohibiting the unlawful possession of fentanyl and its analogues. This includes the state of Florida. In Florida, fentanyl is a schedule I controlled substance. That means it carries some of the harshest penalties for possession under Florida law. It was classified this way because it’s considered highly addictive with little use in the medical field.
What is the Penalty for Fentanyl Possession in Florida?
Possession of fentanyl is a serious crime in Florida and can result in life-changing penalties. You can be charged in either actual or constructive possession of fentanyl. Actual possession is when the drug is on your person such as being in your purse or in your pocket. Constructive possession, however, will require the prosecution to prove several elements. These elements include:
- You were aware of the presence of the controlled substance
- You had complete control and ownership over the controlled substance
- The controlled substance was fentanyl, an analogue of fentanyl, or a mixture of fentanyl or it’s analogues
Fentanyl possession is a third-degree felony punishable by:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- 5-year probation
- A fine of up to $5,000
It’s important to remember the trafficking threshold for fentanyl is very low. You can be prosecuted for trafficking fentanyl if you were in possession of four grams or more of fentanyl. Also, if the fentanyl was in a mixture, then the court will weigh the whole mixture. They will not base the charges off how much fentanyl was in the mixture, but instead how much the mixture as a whole weighs. That means you could be prosecuted for trafficking even if there was little to barely any trace of fentanyl in the mixture.
What is the Opioid Crisis in the United States?
Fentanyl is one of the most common types of opioids circulating the recreational drug market. However, it’s not the only one. Many other prescriptions are trafficked for the purpose of recreational use such as Oxycodone and Codeine. The unexpected rise in usage of these drugs stem from the doctors who prescribed them. It was found that in the last 15 or so years, physician had been prescribing opiate medications faster than ever before. Highly addictive drugs like fentanyl became commonplace for minor injuries like whiplash or backpain. Doctors prescribed these medications with the intention of relieving the patient’s pain. Instead, it caused the patient to become chemical dependent on the synthetic opioid. These patients were then caught in the throes of withdrawal once the refills were gone. Patients were then forced to adventure other means in an effort to obtain the substances they were addicted to. This whirlwind of circumstances has caused not just hundreds or thousands of Americans, but hundreds of thousands of Americans to seek illegal drugs. Scientists have referred to this phenomenon as the opioid crisis. Some examples of other prescription opioids that are commonly abused include:
- Oxymorphone (Opana);
- Oxycodone (OxyContin);
- Morphine (Kadian, Avinza);
- Codeine; and
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
Narcotics (Opioids) Information– Visit the official website for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn more about synthetic and natural opioids, their effects and the penalties for possessing, selling, or manufacturing the drugs. Access the site to learn the origins of different opioids, drug fact sheets, and other opioid related statistics. Fentanyl Possession Laws in FL – Visit the official website of the current Florida Statutes to learn more about the laws regarding fentanyl and other illegal opioids. Access the site to read the legal definitions, penalties, admissible defenses, and other important information.
Fentanyl Defense Attorney in Brooksville, Florida
If you or someone you know has been arrested for possession of fentanyl or another illegal opioid, it’s imperative you seek legal counsel. You can find an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney with Ashley Aulls of The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A.. He has practiced law since 1996. Call The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. today to set up your first consultation free of charge. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Hernando County and Brooksville area and other communities including Spring Hills, Hernando Beach, Pine Island, Ridge Manor, Brookridge, High Point, Weeki Wachee Gardens, Inverness, Homosassa, Lecanto, Hernando, Beverly Hills, Citrus Hills, Crystal River, Wildwood, Center Hill, and Bushnell.