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Opioids and Opiates

Experienced Fort Wayne Lawyer Defends Against Possession Charges for Opioids and Opiates

Established attorney asserts your rights when faced with narcotics offenses

The nation is in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis that has enriched drug manufacturers while devastating whole communities. Tragically, many people who trusted their healthcare professionals to prescribe pain medication developed dependencies and other health detriments. If you have been arrested for illegal possession of an opioid or a narcotic drug, there is hope. But your chance to help yourself begins with securing capable legal representation to minimize the consequences of your arrest. The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey provides aggressive advocacy to protect your rights and your future.

The difference between opioids and opiates

Opioids are a broad class of natural and synthetic substances that bind to the brain’s opioid receptors, blocking pain, slowing breathing and having an overall calming effect. In the 1990s, drug manufacturers began mixing small amounts of opiate-based narcotics with standard medications, such as Tylenol, produce synthetic painkillers known as opioids. Some of the common prescription forms of these are:

  • Fentanyl — This drug is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. It is generally prescribed for severe pain after surgery.
  • Oxycodone — The active ingredient in OxyContin (a brand of oxycodone) is an opioid, closely related to morphine and heroin, and is prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain following injury or surgery.
  • Codeine — This sleep-inducing and analgesic drug derived from morphine can often be found in prescription cough suppressants.

As doctors began to prescribe opioids in increasingly greater numbers, more and more patients became dependent on them, leading many to procure them illegally or turn to illegal opiates with often deadly results: according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 130 people in the United States die every day from opioid overdoses. These serious and sometimes lethal health effects led Congress to pass legislation that made it illegal to possess or use them as well as cocaine and cannabis.

The difference between heroin and cocaine

Drugs and some of the chemicals used to make them are classified into five categories, or schedules, based on the drugs’ acceptable medical uses and their potential for abuse or dependency. Schedule 1 drugs carry the highest potential for addiction or abuse and have no medicinal value; Schedule V drugs represent the least potential for abuse.

Heroin falls under Schedule I, cocaine under Schedule II. The two are often lumped together because of their addictive qualities and the potential harm to users, but unlike heroin, cocaine has some limited medicinal use and is not an opiate. Most importantly, heroin is a depressant while cocaine is a stimulant, so they actually have opposite effects on the body. Confusing heroin with cocaine can also be deadly: a user who generally snorts cocaine might decide to snort heroin, or may mix the two, without realizing how much more dangerous that is.

Penalties for narcotic drug possession in Indiana

Knowingly possessing a Schedule I or II drug draws penalties vary based on the amount of the drug, the location where it is found and any enhancement to the charge. The penalties are:

  • Up to one year in jail for less than three grams without an enhancement (Class A misdemeanor)
  • Six months to 2.5 years in prison for less than three grams with an enhancement (Level 6 felony)
  • One to six years in prison for more than three but less than 10 grams, or less than three grams in a protected zone (Level 5 felony)
  • Two to 12 years in prison for between 10 and 28 grams, or between three and 10 grams in a protected zone (Level 4 felony)
  • Three to 20 years in prison for at least 28 grams or between 10 and 28 grams in a protected zone (Level 3 felony)

A protected zone is defined as a school bus or within 500 feet of a school, park, family housing complex, or youth center. Factors that can enhance charges include weapons possession, a criminal history and the presence of minors. In addition to incarceration, fines of up to $5,000 for a misdemeanor and up to $10,000 for a felony can be imposed.

A felony drug charge has serious implications for your future. The most important step you can take is to call our law office to schedule an immediate free consultation with a skilled criminal law attorney.

Contact an aggressive Indiana criminal defense lawyer for narcotic drug charges

If you have been arrested for possession or distribution of opiates or opioids, The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey offers the determined defense you need. For a free consultation and cost-effective representation from an experienced Fort Wayne attorney, please contact the firm online or call us at 260-222-7364.

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  • Fort Wayne Office
    6135 Stoney Creek Drive
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
    Phone: 260-437-0197
    Fax: 260-745-4703