Fentanyl abuse is taking lives and devastating communities throughout the country. While this opioid is used for legitimate medical treatment (by prescription only), the illegal use of Fentanyl has increased drastically over the last few years. In Pennsylvania, law enforcement authorities have been stepping up efforts to police Fentanyl trafficking.

Fentanyl has all of the characteristics of a dangerous street drug. First, it is a powerful opioid. The drug can provide temporary pain relief when used properly. However, it is also fairly easy to overdose on Fentanyl. Misusage often leads to accidental death. The drug is also highly addictive. Even those who begin using Fentanyl legally for a legitimate medical condition can get hooked and abuse the drug. Fentanyl is also relatively inexpensive compared with other street narcotics. It is readily available on the black market for less than a dollar per dose. Even people of modest means can afford to buy Fentanyl illegally long enough to develop a serious and deadly addiction.

Pennsylvania’s fight against Fentanyl abuse is a collaborative effort. The state attorney general’s office coordinates enforcement programs with county district attorneys, the state police and local police departments. In order to reduce the supply of Fentanyl on the black market, law enforcement focuses on breaking up the drug trafficking rings. The state prosecutes these illicit businesses under conspiracy and corrupt organizations statutes. The cases tend to be complex and it takes time to gather sufficient evidence. The relevant laws impose harsh penalties and can put major drug traffickers permanently out of business.

Pennsylvania has also adopted a “no tolerance” stance against individuals who illegally possess Fentanyl. A state law makes possession of even a tiny amount a serious felony. A first conviction carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of $5,000. The same punishment applies to substances that are derivatives of Fentanyl, which are also often used in the illegal narcotics trade. Given the harsh legal consequences of unlawful possession anyone under investigation for Fentanyl related crimes should immediately contact a drug possession lawyer.

Based in Somerset, attorney Matthew R. Zatko is one of southwest Pennsylvania’s most noted criminal defense attorneys. I make certain that each client receives devoted attention with the goal of achieving the best results under the circumstances. If you have a drug charge pending or believe you are under criminal investigation, feel free to call 814-443-1631 or contact me online for a consultation.