US Customs and Border Patrol recently discovered about 254 pounds of fentanyl with a value of around $3.5 million dollars in what was the largest seizure of the substance in US history.
Concealed in a tractor-trailer at the Nogales port of the US-Mexico border, officers also found nearly 395 pounds of meth alongside the fentanyl. Now, state officials are being urged to educate people on the dangers of these increasingly popular drugs.
What is fentanyl
Fentanyl has risen in popularity within the opioid epidemic America faces. Originally used for anesthetic purposes, when the time mechanism of the drug is broken by converting it into a liquid or powder, all of the drug's effects are administered at once, resulting in feelings of euphoria.
However, similarly to heroine, morphine or any other opioid, the high can come at a deadly price.
Why do I keep hearing about it?
Because of the potency of fentanyl, it's now being laced into other types of drugs, such as heroin, meth and cocaine. For comparison, three milligrams of fentanyl is 30 milligrams of heroin. And, taking only 0.25 milligrams of fentanyl could be fatal.
This could be why fentanyl has been involved in about 29 percent of all 2016 overdoses, a shockingly high spike compared to its 4 percent in 2011. In 2017, an estimated 29,000 Americans lost their lives to fentanyl overdose.
What are the penalties for fentanyl possession?
Fentanyl is listed as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substance Act, meaning that possession of the drug could result in felony charges under federal law. President Trump has encouraged officials to sentence fentanyl dealers with the death penalty.
Are there any exceptions?
New York's Good Samaritan Law can provide legal protection to those in possession of fentanyl or other illicit drugs if they call law enforcement for help against a potential drug overdose.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is facing charges for fentanyl possession, you may be eligible to enter a drug court program that would keep you from having to serve jail time for your sentence. To learn more about your options for drug possession defense, consult with a skilled attorney for help.