Any Amount of Illegal Fentanyl Possession Means Going to Prison in PA, Upon Conviction

Pennsylvania Fentanyl Law Punishes ANY AMOUNT of Illegal Fentanyl Possession or Fentanyl Derivative with a Mandatory Two Years in Prison and a $5,000 Fine

fentanyl mandatory sentence pennsylvaniaPennsylvania legislators are not fooling around when it comes to punishing those found in illegal possession of any amount of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and used medically for extreme pain. It is also addictive and can easily cause an overdose.

Fentanyl is a Schedule II prescription drug, the same category the Controlled Substance Act has labeled cocaine, Adderall and oxycodone, meaning that it can be both be abused as a recreational drug and used for medical purposes. But Fentanyl can be more deadly, especially because oftentimes the user has no idea they are injecting it into their body, or that it was mixed into their usual dosage of heroin or cocaine.

The main reason for the crackdown by legislators is due to a very high risk of overdose in users and the growing number of opioid overdose deaths in the state. Sometime drug dealers add fentanyl to heroin or cocaine to increase the potency, which can lead to overdose.

Under Senate Bill 8, amending Title 18 Section 7508(b) and (d) (Drug trafficking sentencing and penalties), the law states:

(9) A person who is convicted of violating section 13(a) (14), (30) or (37) of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act  (i) when the aggregate weight of the compound or mixture containing the fentanyl or fentanyl derivative, compound or analogue involved is less than 1.0 gram; two years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

The law goes on to explain that if at the time of sentencing the defendant has been convicted of another drug trafficking offense, they will receive 36 months in prison and a fine of $10,000. If the amount of fentanyl is over 10 grams, the penalties increase from there.

Current Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties have a mandatory sentence if a person is in possession of over 40 grams of fentanyl or over 10 grams of fentanyl analogue. But Pennsylvania has taken the extra step to restrict ANY amount and will punish persons convicted of illegal possession if “the controlled substance or a mixture containing it is fentanyl or a fentanyl derivative, compound or analogue of fentanyl.”

Over 90,000 Americans died in 2020 from drug overdoses. 70% of cocaine overdoses also involved fentanyl.

People who have substance use disorder can find evidence-based treatment and service options near them by visiting https://findtreatment.gov or by calling the 24/7, national Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

If you were charged with a drug crime, including opioid possession, our legal team in Pittsburgh, PA can help. Contact our Pittsburgh Drug Lawyers for a free consultation.

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