Texas takes drug crimes very seriously, imposing the harshest possible penalties on convicted drug offenders. Texas is currently dealing with a rise in drug offenses, especially those involving fentanyl, a synthetic opioid and one of the latest drugs of concern across America. Fentanyl in Austin has become an exceptionally serious problem.
Austin fentanyl possession is one drug crime that is increasingly in the local headlines. According to the nonprofit organization Families Against Fentanyl, fentanyl is “the #1 cause of death for Americans age 18 to 45,” with illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its derivatives (called analogues) causing hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths in the United States over the last several years. Texas fentanyl overdoses resulting in death increased 670% between 2015 and 2021. In Austin and other cities across the Lone Star State, law enforcement officials have started to focus more on addressing fentanyl possession to avoid these fatal outcomes. The overall goal is to stop the spread of fentanyl and fentanyl-related deaths.
NARCAN: ONE APPROACH TO TREATING FENTANYL ADDICTION
Arrests for fentanyl possession are on the rise across the nation, as many people have it because they know how to obtain naloxone; some people suggest that the availability of this harm reduction tool encourages drug-addicted people to take the risk. Proponents of this harm reduction approach say the goal is simply to prevent fentanyl users from overdosing when they use it.
“The most widely embraced method of harm reduction is offering users naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, an easy-to-use medication capable of reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. All U.S. states, including Texas, have relaxed restrictions on access to naloxone amid the opioid epidemic’s “third wave,” which began in 2013 with the rise of fentanyl’s presence on the black market.”
The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies different illicit drugs into four penalty groups based on each one’s level of possible harm, with groups one and two usually leading to felony charges. Fentanyl is in Penalty Group 1, which is the highest penalty group. The state of Texas harshly penalizes people for possession of fentanyl and other drugs in this group. In fact, possessing any amount of fentanyl can lead to felony charges. The life-changing penalties associated with possession of the drug. The penalties for this crime include the following:
|AMOUNT OF DRUG||PRISON TERM||FINE|
|Less than 1 gram||180 days – 2 years||Up to $10,000|
|1 gram – 4 grams||2 – 20 years||Up to $10,000|
|4 grams – 200 grams||5 – 99 years||Up to $10,000|
|200 grams – 400 grams||10 – 99 years||Up to $100,000|
|Greater than 400 grams||15 – 99 years||Up to $250,000|
Texas Health and Safety Code-HEALTH & SAFETY §481.115. Offense: Possession of Substance in Penalty Group 1
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of fentanyl in Texas, it is crucial that you get assistance from a reputable drug possession lawyer, like board-certified criminal defense attorney Brian Erskine of Erskine Law, who has experience handling cases of Austin fentanyl possession. The competent and caring legal counsel at Erskine Law can help anyone charged with drug possession by building a strong defense to help avoid conviction in each case. Contact Erskine Law at any time to discuss how he can help you fight the charges against you.