Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. Like other opioids, it has a legitimate medical use as a pain reliever, although it is highly addictive. In the hands of non-medical professionals, however, it can be –- and often is — deadly. It’s estimated that it kills some 200 people in this country alone each day.
Fentanyl is multitudes of times more potent than other opioids – for example, 100 times more than morphine. That means it’s easy to miscalculate how much you’re taking – or selling to someone. Even a tiny amount that gets accidentally mixed with another drug can have deadly results.
The growing number of fatal fentanyl overdoses has led a number of states – including Alabama – to enact laws that make the legal consequences of selling fentanyl even more severe. This April, Alabama enacted a law that designates mandatory prison sentences and fines for those convicted for trafficking a gram or higher of fentanyl.
Mandatory minimum prison sentences
The mandatory minimums increase from three years for one to two grams up to a life sentence without parole for eight or more grams. The state representative behind the legislation, who used to be a prosecutor, said this is based on the weight of “pure fentanyl” and not on the total weight of a drug if fentanyl is mixed in with it. He said, ““One gram seems low … However, one gram can kill up to 500 people. One gram is not for personal use.”
If you or a loved one is facing charges related to fentanyl trafficking in Alabama, it’s crucial to understand how seriously the state takes this offense and what kind of consequences could be in store. That’s why it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and to work to mitigate those consequences.