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Even a little fentanyl could lead to Maryland trafficking charges

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Drug Charges

The creation of fentanyl was a major medical breakthrough. When compared with traditional opioid medications like morphine and codeine, opiates like fentanyl are stronger, cheaper to manufacture and easier to reliably supply to medical facilities. Fentanyl has made chronic pain management safer and more affordable for people with intractable pain symptoms.

Unfortunately, the strength and accessibility of fentanyl also make it a major concern for public health and safety. There has been a sharp increase in opioid addiction in recent years, and many people who take powerful opioids for medical purposes may end up feeling dependent and taking the medication even when their doctor will no longer prescribe it. There is a massive unregulated secondary market for fentanyl and similar drugs due to the demand for such medications.

Fentanyl is so cheap and effective that it has also found its way into other drugs as an adulterant. Law enforcement professionals report finding fentanyl in a large number of other street drugs. Maryland lawmakers have enhanced the rules governing fentanyl to deter people from trafficking it, which means that those caught with fentanyl could very easily end up facing very serious charges.

What are the current standards in Maryland?

People usually need to have a significant amount of drugs in their personal possession for the state to charge them with trafficking simply based on possession. After a certain point, the state can even charge someone as a volume dealer. The weight limits for such charges for other drugs are multiple pounds or at least a full ounce of other narcotics. However, fentanyl has a very low trafficking threshold. If officers find someone with as little as five grams of fentanyl in one person’s possession, which might just be a few pills, that could be enough to charge that person as a volume dealer.

Even those who possess fentanyl solely for personal use are at risk of facing life-altering felony charges if they purchase too much fentanyl at once. The penalties could include five mandatory years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Learning about the drug trafficking rules in Maryland may benefit those who are struggling with substance abuse disorders or worried about a loved one and the criminal penalties they may face if they’re caught with fentanyl.