Why are penalties so steep for small amounts of fentanyl?

Firm Logo

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, a narcotic that is similar to organic opiates but originates in a lab. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it has accepted medical uses for treating severe pain but also has a high potential for abuse.

People in possession of a relatively small amount of fentanyl can face charges of trafficking or distribution when the same amount of other drugs, even narcotics, would result in simple possession charges. There are several reasons why possessing even small amounts of fentanyl can get a person into big trouble.

Fentanyl is extremely potent

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. Heroin is a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical uses.

Fentanyl frequently causes overdoses

Because fentanyl is so potent, relatively small amounts can cause an overdose. Fentanyl is responsible for approximately 150 overdose deaths a day in the United States.

Fentanyl shows up in other preparations

There is pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. While diversion of the former for illicit purposes does occur, illicitly manufactured fentanyl is more likely to cause overdose deaths because of the common practice of using it to cut other drugs.

It is difficult to tell whether a drug contains fentanyl without the use of special test strips. If authorities test drugs and find that they contain fentanyl, the person from whom they confiscated the drugs could face greater penalties whether he or she was aware that the drugs contained fentanyl or not.


Contact Us

Results-Oriented Criminal Defense

A member of our team will be in touch shortly to confirm your contact details or address questions you may have.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy
  • Thousands of Happy Clients

    We've represented thousands of clients like you, and we're here to help you get the justice you deserve.

  • Trial-Tested and Ready to Fight

    We're not afraid of a fight in the courtroom, and have the confidence and track record to win. 

  • 25 Years of Experience

    Ryan Garvey has decades of experience serving clients like you, and he's ready for whatever your case may bring.

  • Former Prosecutor on Your Team
    With our prior experience, we know what the other side is thinking.