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Killer Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Still at Large

DEA danger warnings; Arizona Laws, Facts, Trends, and Criminal Defense

The National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported this year that the USA is facing drug overdose deaths in epidemic proportions.

In the data collected by the CDC, it was concluded that overdoses increased 137 percent over the last decade.

This included a 200 percent increase in overdoses that involved pain relievers and opioids fentanyl and heroin.

Last year the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a nationwide alert about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues or compounds after the anesthesia drug was being increasingly laced in heroin.

The DEA Administrator recently reported that fentanyl and fentanyl analogues were up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30-50 times more powerful than heroin.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid analgesic typically used to treat patients with severe pain or, manage pain after surgery, or treat people with chronic pain.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug.  It is an abstract of morphine.

When the two are combined the dose becomes lethal, with one dose sufficient enough to cause death.

The Glaring Questions        

In light of the inherent dangers and reports of rising death tolls, begs the questions: Why are people still using? Why are people still buying? And why are dealers selling a drug so dangerous,  they dare not use themselves?  

When it comes to illegal drug manufacturing and sales, it can be difficult to remember that for dealers it is a business.

Like any other business that sells goods or products the seller is looking to make a profit.  So they need to buy low, fulfill a market demand, sell it for a competitive price, and make it accessible.

Fentanyl is far less expensive than heroin to buy, and so if mixed with the heroin can reap a greater profit.

The deadly combination only costs about $10.00 or less on the street, making it easier to sell and buy.

The dealer can buy low, sell low, and still make a lucrative profit.

Due to competition on the street and market demand for a stronger drug by those who suffer from addiction more potent drugs and dangerous drugs like fentanyl laced heroin are being sold.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl laced opioids are abused for their intense euphoric effects, as it can serve as a direct substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals.

In cases where a chronic user has developed a tolerance to heroin and no longer gain the high they did in the past, they may seek to find something that will, regardless of the risks.

Those looking for more potent and dangerous drug often seek drugs that are responsible for death and overdose, somehow feel they can tolerate such a dangerous drug.

Those suffering from addiction to the drug will seek out such deadly drugs, under the premise that they feel they can handle its potency, where others could not.

But not all users are aware of its dangers, or even that the heroin itself is laced with fentanyl.

In either case, the potential for comma or death is imminent, even in the smallest of doses.

Arizona Narcotic Drug Laws and Criminal Penalties   

The dangerous consequences involving fentanyl based opioids or heroin go far beyond the health risks.

Unfortunately many do not seek treatment in their battle with opioid addiction, until it is too late.

But if a dependent user can obtain successful treatment in time, they may be reduce or eliminate

their risk of overdose, fatality, or serving years in prison.

Felony drug offenses carry some of the most serious penalties under Arizona Law.

Arizona Revised Statute 13-3401 classifies fentanyl as a narcotic drug—the same classification for heroin under this statute.

Those charged with possession of heroin or illegal use of fentanyl in Arizona face serious penalties.

Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3408, criminal charges relating to fentanyl or heroin can include:

  • Possession or use of a narcotic drug is a class 4 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 2.5 years in prison;
  • Possession of a narcotic drug for sale is a class 2 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison;
  • Possession of equipment, chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a narcotic drug is a class 3 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years in prison;
  • Manufacture of a narcotic drug is a class 2 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison;
  • Administration of a narcotic drug to another person is a class 2 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison;
  • Obtaining or procuring the administration of a narcotic drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge is a class 3 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years in prison; and
  • Transport for sale, import into Arizona, offer to transport for sale or import into Arizona, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a narcotic drug is a class 2 felony punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison.

All heroin offenses are classified as felonies, which call for prison sentences.  If the quantity of heroin found in a person’s possession exceeds 1 gram, longer term prison sentences will apply.

In general, the higher the quantity found, the more harsh the prison sentencing if the defendant is convicted.

Criminal Defense for Heroin and Fentanyl Charges in Maricopa County

“Prepared to Defend” 

– James Novak, Law Office of James Novak, PLLC

Any drug charge in Arizona relating to heroin or fentanyl in Arizona is a felony offense. A conviction for a felony can lead to the loss of the rights to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, and possess a gun or firearm.

Some alleged offenders accused of heroin or fentanyl offense may be eligible for the Maricopa County Drug Court Program. Drug court allows alleged offenders to have felony charges reduced to misdemeanors upon successful completion of the year-long drug court program.

Participants in this program must submit to random drug tests, maintain a full-time job, and complete a treatment program. Alleged offenders must also regularly report to probation officers and attend sober support group meetings.

Not everybody is eligible to participate in the drug court, but this does not mean that a conviction is automatic. Unknowing possession of illegal drugs, illegal search and seizure violations, or legal possession of a prescription medication can all be defenses that can result in heroin or fentanyl charges being significantly reduced or completely dismissed.

James Novak is a former prosecutor for Maricopa County who has handled these types of cases on both sides of the aisle. This unique perspective allows him to identify the most effective defenses for clients that help them secure the most favorable outcomes to their cases. If you were arrested for a heroin or fentanyl drug offense, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of James Novak today for a free, confidential consultation.

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