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Fentanyl Possession & Distribution Attorney in Hudson County


Fentanyl has been around for awhile (actually since the 1960’s) but has only recently gained notoriety and popularity in America’s drug culture. Celebrity deaths such as Mac Miller, Prince, and Tom Petty have brought the discussion of fentanyl into the mainstream. For purposes of this discussion, we are going to focus on New Jersey, which is one of the worst states when it comes to fentanyl distribution, possession, use, and overdoses. The causes of this are most likely fueled by widespread access to heroin because the two drugs are so closely connected. In fact, most of the heroin cases we come across today, the heroin that the cops confiscate turns out to be cut with fentanyl or pure fentanyl when we get the test results back from the state lab. We have seen this in arrests out of Jersey City, North Bergen, Bloomfield, Kearny and Hoboken.


Fentanyl is one of many prescription drugs classified as a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance. This particular synthetic opiate was originally engineered for cancer patients and people in extreme pain. However, the drug has gained popularity with the drug culture and is often used as substitute to other opiates such as morphine, tramadol, or suboxone. Fentanyl comes in many shapes and sizes including powder form, lozenges known as “lollipops”, patches, and injectables. The drug is known as an opioid receptor agonist with high lipid solubility and a rapid onset and short duration of effects. Fentanyl rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is similar to other opioid receptor agonists (like morphine or oxycodone) in its sedation effects as a pain killer and it also produces analgesia, nausea, vomiting, itching, and respiratory depression. Fentanyl appears to produce muscle rigidity with greater frequency than other opioids. This is something that the police have become aware of and now look for when someone is suspected of being under the influence of fentanyl. Fentanyl is commonly prescribed to patients because unlike some opioid receptor agonists, fentanyl does not cause histamine release and has minimal depressant effects on the heart.



Under current New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(4), it is a second degree crime to manufacture, distribute or possess with the intent to distribute an ounce or more of fentanyl. A crime of the second degree is punishable by 5 – 10 years in New Jersey state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. On the other hand, under 2C:35-5b(5), if the amount of fentanyl is below an ounce, but still possessed with the intent to distribute, you will face third degree charges which are punishable by 3 – 5 years in New Jersey state prison and a fine of up to $75,000. However, the good news is that if you have no prior record, a third degree conviction will normally carry a presumption against state prison incarceration, although it may not necessarily protect you from county jail time. It is important to note that there is pending legislation to increase the penalties for fentanyl distribution and make it a first degree crime to possess five ounces or more just like our heroin distribution law.


Under New Jersey law, it is a third degree crime for anyone to unlawfully possess, obtain, or constructively possession a controlled dangerous substance that is classified as Schedule I, II, III, or IV without the express permission and recommendation of a licensed physician through a valid prescription. As mentioned above, fentanyl is a Schedule II CDS so that means it is a third degree crime to unlawfully any amount, no matter who small. Third degree possession of fentanyl is punishable by up to 3 – 5 years in state prison and up to a $35,000 fine.


Courtesy of National Institute Of Drug Abuse

Fentanyl is so dangerous because it looks like just like heroin but it is estimated to be about 100 times more potent than morphine as an analgesic. Under controlled settings (for instance under the supervision of a doctor or treatment facility) fentanyl can serve as a direct substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals. However, make no mistake – fentanyl is a very dangerous substitute for heroin when it is not taken under controlled settings because it is much more potent than heroin and results in frequent fatal overdoses from respiratory depression. As mentioned above, fentanyl comes in many different forms and potencies which leads to further abuse and potential risks. For instances, patches are popular with dealers and addicts because they contain a high level of potency and a large percentage of fentanyl remains in these patches even after three days of use. This is why it’s fairly common for people to remove the gel from the patches in order to inject or ingest the contents. Another popular way of ingesting this potent form of fentanyl is to freeze the patch, cut it into pieces and then place it under the tongue or in the cheek cavity so the drug can be quickly absorbed into the user’s blood stream. Fentanyl oral transmucosal lozenges “lollipops” and fentanyl injectables are also commonly diverted and abused. Although fentanyl abuse and related deaths initially come on to the scene in the mid-1970s it has drastically increased in recent years. The DEA National Drug Threat Assessment issues an annual report on opoid deaths in American every year and has noted a large increase in synthetic opioid deaths connected to fentanyl.


Fentanyl has exploded on the scene in recent years and caused quite an uproar with cops, prosecutors, and lawmakers. This aggressive push on behalf of the state is fueled by the fears of further addiction and overdoses throughout New Jersey. In fact, the state legislature is in the process of trying to stiffen up the penalties for fentanyl distribution and basically double the amount of time in state prison for defendants who are convicted of selling fentanyl. If you have been arrested for fentanyl possession or distribution in Hudson County, New Jersey or any surrounding areas then we can offer you a free consultation. During your initial consultation we will discuss the facts of the case, possible legal issues and outcomes, as well as our legal fees if you choose to hire our law firm. One of our criminal attorneys can be reached at (201) 793-8018.