blog Drug Crime Why Fentanyl Charges Are Being Taken So Seriously in CO

Why Fentanyl Charges Are Being Taken So Seriously in CO

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on November 20, 2022

Fentanyl is a lab-created opioid that medical professionals use to ease pain, often following a surgery. It can be administered in various ways, including as a shot, a patch, or a cough drop alternative. Fentanyl differs from other pain relievers by being extremely powerful and malleable.

Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Properly created Schedule I and II drugs are created with pure elements, making them generally weaker for those with tolerance to them. Fentanyl is the choice drug for those recovering from immense pain or with a significant tolerance to other drugs.

How Deadly Is It?

Fentanyl’s strength also comes at a cost; it is addictive and deadly. Patients prescribed fentanyl must be watched closely for addictive tendencies. Addiction to unknown fentanyl-laced drugs is particularly bad and may result in an overdose. Consider these statistics:

  • There were 56,516 deaths from overdose in 2020, primarily due to fentanyl and fentanyl mixes. This was a six-fold increase from the decade prior.
  • Two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose. That’s the equivalent of just 10-15 grains of table salt.
  • Over 150 people die from overdoses of synthetic drugs like fentanyl every day.

Notably, it is important to not spread misinformation about fentanyl either. Some media stories have sensationalized the power of the drug; claiming that simply touching fentanyl is enough to overdose. These claims are untrue and can unintentionally harm the victims of laced drugs.

It’s Often Used as an Additive

Fentanyl, a close cousin to heroin, is derived from the chemical structure of the opium-producing poppy plant. This same chemical structure allows the drug to be an effective additive for other substances. Even in terms of cost and production, fentanyl is a commonly picked solution because it is cheap.

It can also be created in illicit labs and smuggled into the United States. In recent years, the draw to fentanyl has increased in the street drug circuits. Adding fentanyl means the host drug will either get boosted effects or better hide the other drug from authorities. Some malicious people may intentionally contaminate illicit drugs with fentanyl, too, increasing the likelihood of a fatal interaction.

The Media

The media portrays fentanyl as aggressive and contagious when it is no more excessive than similar drugs. While it is true that fentanyl is particularly addictive and overdosing is likely, fentanyl’s media personae shouldn’t lead to scaremongering.

For example, earlier this year, authorities exposed that the cartel and illicit fentanyl producers added brightly colored dyes to their drugs. This resulted in “rainbow fentanyl” being hunted down in 18 states. Illicit drug producers have said the goal was to attract children into their grasps with candy-like colors. Naturally, the media has exploded with claims of child-targeting. In reality, the only children in danger of running into these drugs are already in that environment. Color is added to some drugs simply so that they can be distinguished from one another—it is not a child-marketing ploy.

What Penalties Could You Face?

Penalties for fentanyl will take the form of possession, distribution, or trafficking in Colorado. Depending on the crime committed, the severity, and any prior legal trouble, there will be a particular penalty for the accused:

  • Those charged with intent to sell more than one ounce and less than one pound are looking at a minimum of four years and a maximum of 16.
  • If charged with intent to sell more than one pound and less than one kilogram, you may be in prison for between eight and 32 years.
  • Intent to sell more than one kilogram can result in up to 32 years in prison.

Colorado drug laws are more complex and nuanced with every alteration to House Bill 19-1264. The Breckenridge drug crime defense lawyers at Whitaker & Penix, LLC are at your service. We use our knowledge, experience, and skills to fight for your freedom and rights. Call us today at (970) 368-0602 if you’ve been arrested for fentanyl.

Posted in: Drug Crime