In Michigan, when people are injured, ill or suffer from conditions that result in physical pain, medical professionals will provide painkillers. Often, these are opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful medication that can be effective at providing relief. However, it can be highly addictive. As with any medication, there can be negative side effects. In severe cases, fentanyl can lead to breathing difficulties and death. Its prevalence has drawn scrutiny and is resulting in people being arrested for selling it illegally. Those charged with crimes related to fentanyl should understand the severity and how to formulate a criminal defense.
Hospitals and health care facilities are apparent hotbeds for drug theft and sale
Fentanyl is tightly regulated and has garnered significant attention in the media, from law enforcement, drug regulators and politicians. It can also be lucrative when sold illegally. Frequently, people who are accused of selling it are not street drug dealers, but those who work in the medical field. Since the effectiveness of fentanyl incrementally reduces the more it is used, greater amounts are needed to achieve the same result. That can spark desperation for people who have grown dependent on it.
Medical professionals and health care workers with access to it could be tempted to sell it. Often, these individuals use it themselves and become addicted. They will sell it and use it to feed the habit. Statistically, up to 15% of medical workers will have drug or alcohol problems. Much of it is believed to stem from the stress of their work. Given their proximity to drugs like fentanyl, they have a propensity to abuse it and other prescription medications. In addition, they might replace stolen drugs with saline or other substances that will be given to patients and place them at even greater risk.
When accused of crimes involving fentanyl, having professional advice is crucial
Because medications in health care settings are tightly controlled and inventoried, it is easy to try and blame their disappearance on people with some form of access to them. This can be the catalyst for an arrest on drug charges. With the attention paid to fentanyl and other opioid-based painkillers, the penalties for a conviction can be severe with jail time, fines and more. In addition, it can damage a health care worker’s career prospects or end them entirely. Before accepting a plea agreement, admitting wrongdoing or saying anything to make the situation worse, it is vital to have legal assistance. There might be viable avenues of defense to reduce the charges or be acquitted.