If you have a loved one with an addiction, his or her disease may have affected you more than you realize. You may have tried to control your loved one’s behavior in efforts to make his or her life easier or healthier. You may have even enabled the addiction without fully knowing it by trying to take care of problems for your loved one that arose as a result of the addiction.
Unfortunately, addiction can take over more than just the addict’s life. Now, if your loved one has gotten into trouble with law enforcement due to accusations relating to fentanyl, you may wonder what his or her criminal defense options are.
What is fentanyl?
You may have heard more about fentanyl recently due to the increased number of overdoses that the substance has caused in recent years. In fact, 59% percent of opioid overdose fatalities in the United States in 2017 involved fentanyl, which is a substantial increase from 14.3% in 2010. This substance is similar to morphine, and doctors prescribe fentanyl as a pain reliever. However, it is 50 to 100 more potent than morphine.
What happens to fentanyl users?
When used properly under medical supervision, fentanyl can treat patients who suffer from severe pain or chronic pain, especially if other opioid medications prove ineffective. However, if your loved one uses fentanyl recreationally, he or she could experience the following effects:
- Feelings of extreme happiness
- Feelings of sedation
- Problems breathing
Like with numerous other substances, overdoses from fentanyl can also occur. Your loved one’s breathing could slow considerably or even stop completely. If he or she suffers from hypoxia, or a decreased amount of oxygen to the brain, a coma, brain damage or death could occur.
What criminal charges could result?
Because fentanyl is a prescription opioid, it is illegal to manufacture, possess or distribute the substance without the proper authority or prescription. As a result, if authorities believe that your loved one has participated in any fentanyl-related activity, it is possible for serious drug charges to result. If this happens or has already happened, you may want to help your loved one find the right legal support to work through this difficult ordeal. Contacting an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney for more information may be wise for such a situation.