Fentanyl Increasingly Found in Heroin
The use of opioid medication and synthetic opioid drugs has become more and more problematic throughout the last few years. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 11.5 million people misused opioids in 2016 alone. Over 64,000 people died of overdosing on these powerful drugs during the same year. Often, people become addicted to opioids after being prescribed pain management pills such as Vicodin or codeine. When these pills run out, some turn to heroin to get the pain-relieving fix they crave. Heroin is often combined with the much more powerful synthetic drug fentanyl in order to increase its effectiveness. Many drug users do not realize the fentanyl content in their heroin. Unfortunately, heroin and synthetic opioid overdose deaths are rising dramatically.
Toxicology Report for Prince Showed Exceptionally High Levels of Fentanyl
Legendary entertainer Prince died in April of 2016 at his Minnesota home. Representatives for the singer had been working to get addiction help for the 57 year-old, but it seems that the help came too late. Overdose was always assumed to be the cause of Prince’s death, but we now have much more information about what specifically killed him. The most recent information comes from a toxicology report which was conducted as part of an autopsy. The report shows that Prince had exceedingly high levels of fentanyl in his body when he died. It has been concluded that this is what killed him.
Legislators Cracking Down on Drug Traffickers
Fentanyl is a pain-relieving medication 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is also 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a tiny amount of fentanyl, only two milligrams, is enough to kill a person. The drug is manufactured and given to cancer patients legally, but is also manufactured and distributed illegally on the black market. Use of fentanyl has increased so much that some legislators have significantly increased the punishment for peddling fentanyl and fentanyl-laced products.
President Donald Trump has received criticism for his recent declarations that drug traffickers should get the death penalty. However, there already exists a federal law which allows federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for high-volume drug traffickers. No cases have been tried under this law and many doubt that a death sentence in such a case would withstand legal and constitutional challenges.
In Illinois, possession of heroin is a Class 1 Felony. It is punishable by up to $200,000 in fines and up to 50 years’ imprisonment depending on the amount in possession. Possession and intent to sell fentanyl are classified as Class X felonies in Illinois. Those found guilty face up to $500,000 in fines and up to sixty years’ imprisonment. Addition charges may also be added in situations where a person sells drugs to someone who overdoses when using. The State's Attorney's office has the discretion to charge drug dealers with drug-induced homicide related to overdose deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin.
Contact Our Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being convicted of a drug-related crime can dramatically alter a person’s life. If you have been charged with possessing, manufacturing, or distributing illegal drugs, you need an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney who will fight to keep you out of jail. To speak with a representative from the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., call (815) 740-4025 today.