Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

Why fentanyl offenses may lead to harsher penalties

Opioids are synthetic compounds that are similar to traditional opiate medications derived from poppies, like morphine and codeine. Unlike traditional opiates, opioids are easier to source and cheaper to produce. They are often far stronger as well, which makes them medically useful but very dangerous for the general public.

Fentanyl is a perfect example. It is many times more powerful than the opiates that came before it, making it very effective in a medical setting and very dangerous in an unregulated environment. New Jersey has seen a major influx in fentanyl-related offenses in recent years. Both police departments and prosecutors have begun to focus more intensely on fentanyl offenses.

Although the state has not yet instituted enhanced sentencing for fentanyl specifically, there are harsh penalties possible for those accused of a possession or trafficking offense involving fentanyl. The judges hearing such cases may prioritize maximizing the penalties they hand down in part because of how fentanyl has affected public safety in recent years.

Navigating fentanyl charges

In recent years, there has been a massive uptick in the number of fatal overdoses, and many of those cases involve fentanyl use or fentanyl contamination. It is also incredibly addictive because it is so powerful. Even those who try to avoid fentanyl might end up consuming it unintentionally, as researchers have started to find it in almost every street drug available for purchase in New Jersey.

The popularity of fentanyl and its dire implications for public safety often leads to judges imposing very harsh penalties, especially if they believe that someone may have played a role in trafficking to others. There are options available for those struggling with substance abuse disorders and facing fentanyl charges in New Jersey.

For example, the New Jersey drug courts could be an option in some cases. Those concerned about the severe penalties of a fentanyl-related drug charge would benefit more from looking into defense strategies rather than prioritizing a quick resolution in the form of a guilty plea.

Understanding that the courts may impose harsh sentences on certain drug offenses can help those who are facing drug charges better respond to the allegations against them.

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