Over the past year, you may have noticed an increase in blog stories about fentanyl. A very dangerous component of the country’s opioid epidemic, it satisfies many of the same needs for painkiller addicts but at a much deadlier price. Overdoses related to this drug have skyrocketed and it has become a popular “street narcotic;” sold to people who can no longer get prescriptions. With all that being said, many law enforcement officials are now expecting to crack down on dealers in the hopes of putting a dent in the crisis.
So far, the cities hit hardest by the epidemic are taking the swiftest action. Baltimore officials, for example, have escalated the weight of fentanyl-related arrests, asking for all cases to be reviewed by federal prosecutors. There has also been a push to arrest more dealers and send more narcotics officers on patrol.
“In 2019, Federal prosecutors will pursue more cases involving fentanyl in our city,” U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert K. Hur stated. “We intend to bring federal resources, laws and prison sentences to bear on those dealers who pose the greatest threat to public safety. Word should spread that if you sell fentanyl on the streets, you run a very real risk of federal time.”
That city is also expected to implement harsher sentences for these crimes. Following the new mandate, anyone who is convicted of distributing 40 grams of fentanyl will face up to five years in prison. And if you’re caught selling 400 grams, your sentence could extend to 10 years.
We all know how deadly fentanyl can be and how easy it is for people to overdose. Those scenarios will be taken into account by the law as well. Now if you were involved in the sale of a batch that caused a fatal overdose, you can face up to 20 years behind bars. And all of these sentences will be delegated to state penitentiaries, with no possibility of parole.
Baltimore is just one of the more newsworthy examples. The way things sound, we can expect punishments like this across the entire country in the near future. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions also spoke out about fentanyl, claiming that the Department of Justice has plans in place to curb the crisis.
“We at the Department of Justice are going to dismantle these deadly fentanyl distribution networks,” he previously stated. “Simply put, we will be tireless until we reduce the number of overdose deaths in this country. We are going to focus on some of the worst counties for opioid overdose deaths in the United States, working all cases until we have disrupted the supply of these deadly drugs.”