When pharmaceutical researchers first developed fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is both stronger and cheaper to produce than traditional opiate drugs, they probably thought they were making a positive contribution to the world of medicine.
However, as a more potent, highly addictive pain relief drug, fentanyl presents a real risk of abuse. Fentanyl has become one of the most commonly abused drugs, both on its own and as an additive in all kinds of other illegal drugs.
The availability of fentanyl on the unregulated market and the contamination of drugs like heroin with fentanyl have led to a marked increase in overdose deaths in Iowa.
Hundreds of people have fatal overdoses in Iowa each year
The sad truth about opioid, opiate or heroin addiction is that people’s tolerance to these drugs can eventually lead to fatally overdosing on them. In fact, even those who don’t yet have a strong tolerance could take too much of a drug if they don’t know that what they have is fentanyl and not a different medication.
There was approximately a 20% increase in fatal opioid overdoses in Iowa between 2019 and 2020. As a result of this increase in deaths, it is safe to assume that both law enforcement and the criminal courts in Iowa will take whatever steps they deem necessary to curtail fentanyl abuse. That could include the rollout of more enforcement efforts to arrest those selling and using fentanyl and harsher sentences for those who get convicted of an opioid-related offense.
Understanding what factors influence law enforcement and prosecutors can help you better respond to potential drug charges in Iowa.