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What you don’t know about street drugs could escalate potential drug charges

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Drug Related

Acquiring prohibited or controlled substances in Oklahoma usually means that someone has a connection to the unregulated market. They have a friend, coworker or acquaintance who provides certain substances on demand, usually for a price.

Anyone who is purchasing street drugs or prescription medication unlawfully already likely understands that they are at risk of criminal prosecution if they get caught during the transaction or while in possession of a drug without a valid prescription. What these individuals may not know is that there is an increasingly common scenario in which they may face more severe penalties because they purchased their drugs on the unregulated market. Specifically, those substances that contain chemical adulterants are a major issue for those buying drugs from others because of both safety concerns and enhanced prosecution risk.

State officials warn of fentanyl contamination

Fentanyl is a very powerful opioid drug that has flooded the unregulated market in recent years. Not only is there major demand for fentanyl itself, but researchers have also found fentanyl contamination in all kinds of other drugs. Pills, powders and even smokable substances may sometimes have a little fentanyl mixed in to make them more potent or possibly less expensive for the person manufacturing or distributing the drugs. Fentanyl is everywhere in Oklahoma, and laboratories readily test for its presence in most seized drugs.

Someone who purchased another drug may not even realize that there is fentanyl in the drug they purchased. However, the presence of fentanyl could very well worsen the penalties that they face if they plead guilty or get convicted. The state will treat a mixture of drugs including fentanyl the same way that they would treat pure fentanyl.

Someone might therefore face far more severe penalties because the fentanyl contaminating their drugs is a higher schedule and therefore carries a worse penalty than the substance they intended to purchase and use. Those recently arrested for a drug offense and surprised by the severity of the charges that they face or the possible penalties sought by the prosecutor may eventually discover that fentanyl contamination is the factor complicating their criminal case.

Understanding current trends in the unregulated drug market may help people avoid illness and particularly serious criminal prosecution.


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