Fentanyl deaths are increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, a record number of 81,320 Americans died from drug overdoses in the year ending in May 2020. The culprit for most of these fatalities appears to be fentanyl, which is about 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Synthetic opioid deaths, primarily involving fentanyl, across 46 states have increased by 38% while 10 states in the West saw a 98% rate of increase in fentanyl, according to the CDC. Overdose deaths in California increased 26.8% in the period between June 2019 and June 2020.
About 75% of all overdose deaths in the beginning months of the pandemic came from opioids, while 80% of those deaths included synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Research shows that states like Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas have had over 35% increases in fentanyl overdoses and deaths from January to August 2020. 20-34-year-olds tend to die more from fentanyl overdoses than from other types of drugs.
Not only is the drug extremely dangerous and deadly, but you could get some serious criminal charges if you possess, traffic, or distribute fentanyl.
What Does Fentanyl Do to You?
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that can be used as a pharmaceutical drug, but more significantly, illicit activities. Its street names typically include Apache, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfellas, Jackpot, Murder 8, and Tango & Cash.
Although pharmaceutical fentanyl was made for pain management treatment of cancer patients, it is also abused because of its powerful opioid properties. As such, fentanyl is often added to heroin to increase its strength or disguise it as highly potent heroin. That’s why many heroin users tend to die from overdoses — it’s increasingly getting laced with fentanyl.
With this in mind, you may be curious about the effects of fentanyl. See below:
- Intense, short-term high
- Temporary feelings of euphoria
- Pain relief
- Slowed respiration and reduced blood pressure
- Urinary retention
- Pupillary constriction
Fentanyl Arrests & Drug Charges in California
Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it is considered dangerous. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Considering how fentanyl overdoses are significantly increasing, law enforcement agencies throughout the county are working hard to detect and arrest drug crime suspects. Drug charges for fentanyl range from possession to trafficking and distribution and more. Police officers’ efforts to take suspected drug crime suspects are working. Take a look at the recent arrests in California below:
- A San Bernardino County woman was charged in March 2021 with one count of conspiracy to heroin and fentanyl, and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
- A federal drug task force arrested 8 defendants who were allegedly in a drug trafficking organization operating in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. The organization reportedly distributed large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and other narcotics across the United States. They are now facing a 20-count indictment.
- A Chico man was arrested after getting caught with several pounds of drugs, including over 1 pound of suspected powdered fentanyl. The suspect allegedly had enough fentanyl to make more than half a million pounds of counterfeit pills.
- Two San Diego men were arrested by the Riverside County task force for allegedly transporting narcotics for sale. Specifically, 4 kilograms of fentanyl, which is enough to make 5 million potentially deadly doses of the drug.
- A Concord resident was recently sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for selling 1,500 counterfeit opiate pills that contained fentanyl to an undercover drug enforcement agent.
As you can see, the police are not messing around, especially in California. If you are under investigation for or got charged with drug crimes, our Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyers may be able to help. As former prosecutors with over 40 years of combined experience, we have it takes to help you come out on top! To get started, reach out to us online or at (805) 467-6060!