As the opioid epidemic continues to worsen, lawmakers have agreed to increase the penalties for distributing the potentially lethal painkiller that has been pushed by the pharmaceutical industry as of late. If you have been charged with fentanyl possession or distribution, or you have been charged with manslaughter due to your alleged involvement in the deceased person’s overdose, you need to contact an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney for immediate and aggressive representation.
Florida’s Continuing War on Drugs Targeting Fentanyl Users and Distributors
Over half a million Americans have died from opioid overdoses from 2000 to 2015, according to the Bradenton Herald. More recently, deaths caused by fentanyl, which is a form of opioid pain killer regularly prescribed at hospitals and by doctors, has risen by 540 percent in just the last three years, according to the New York Times. Fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine, and its derivatives killed more than 20,000 Americans in 2016, compared to around 3,000 a few years before. Heroin is now being cut with fentanyl and its synthetic derivatives, some of which are 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl and other opioids, such as hydrocodone or hydromorphone, are highly addictive, with tens of thousands of injured workers becoming addicted after workplace accidents, as well as car crash victims and patients recovering from surgery becoming addicted as well. However, instead of focusing on addiction treatment, Florida lawmakers have decided to renew their war on drugs. Florida House Bill 477 passed through the senate unanimously, which will have serious consequences for all people addicted to opioids and anyone in possession of fentanyl.
Fentanyl will be Classified as a Class I Controlled Substance in the Future
The bill, when it becomes law, will increase fentanyl and its derivatives, such as carfentanil, to a schedule I controlled substance. It will become a first degree felony to possess more than four grams of fentanyl and will punish offenders with mandatory prison sentences and fines, depending on the quantity found on their person or in their control. Furthermore, alleged fentanyl traffickers will be able to be charged with murder if a person who they sell the opioid to ends up dying of an overdose. According to Vox, more than 20 states have laws that allow alleged drug dealers to be charged with murder if an alleged client dies of an overdose; many of these laws were passed in recent years due to the growing concern over opioid fatalities.
Do not Hesitate. Contact an Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Now
Whether you have been charged with possession of an opioid or any other controlled substance, or you have been charged with manslaughter via alleged distribution of a narcotic, you must take legal action immediately to defend yourself and your rights. We strongly urge you to contact the West Palm Beach law offices of the Skier Law Firm today for help. We aggressively defend our clients both in and out of the courtroom.