The addiction and overdose crisis caused by fentanyl shows no signs of slowing down in Virginia or the rest of the country. In response, lawmakers are proposing increasingly strict laws against the possession and sale of this powerful opioid.
In the latest example, a Virginia congressman is working to make fentanyl a Schedule I drug under federal law. The federal criminal code divides controlled substances (except for marijuana) into five groups, or “schedules,” based on whether the substance has an accepted medical use and its potential for abuse or addiction. The higher schedule a drug is listed as, the lower amount someone has to be caught with to be charged with drug trafficking under federal law.
Move to put fentanyl with the most potent drugs
Fentanyl is currently included in Schedule I, the highest category. But that is only a temporary scheduling order that is set to expire on Feb. 19. Then fentanyl would move back to Schedule IV. Rep. Morgan Griffith, along with Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio, have introduced a bill to make the scheduling change permanent. Griffith said that increasing the number of Virginians and others who would face felony drug charges would reduce overdose deaths and “end the tragedy of addiction.”
If Griffith is successful, people in Bedford caught with a small amount of fentanyl without a prescription could potentially face federal trafficking charges. If convicted, they would be sentenced to between five and 40 years for a first offense.
Take trafficking charges seriously
This is an example of how serious drug charges are. Even if you are charged with possession with intent to distribute at the state level, you could still be facing a lengthy prison sentence. It is critical that you confront the charges with a strategy that best fits the circumstances and your personal needs.