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Opioid Death Increase Prompts Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl Crimes

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a national opioid epidemic, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 17-146 on May 3, 2017, declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. On June 14, 2017, Governor Scott signed House Bill 477 (HB 477), legislation that added the opioids fentanyl and carfentanil to the list of drugs that can result in mandatory minimum sentences.

Roughly six months later, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a report stating that the 5,725 opioid-related deaths reported in 2016 were 1,483 more than the prior year, or a 35 percent increase. The date included the following opioids:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Fentanyl Analogs
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Tramadol

According to the report deaths caused by fentanyl specifically increased by 97 percent. In October 2017, President Donald Trump also declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic.

Fort Lauderdale Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Florida state law establishes mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines for people convicted of certain sex offenses, gun crimes, and offenses involving possession of certain controlled substances. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are frequently passed in the name of public safety, but such measures rarely correlate to decreases in crime.

Furthermore, many non-violent first-time offenders face prison sentences that judges are powerless to deviate from. Such individuals serve lengthy terms of imprisonment that prevent them from being able to support their families, and many people will face lifetimes of extreme challenges finding employment or housing after serving these sentences.

When a person faces criminal charges relating to the possession of an opioid or any other kind of controlled substance that carries the possibility of mandatory minimum sentencing, it is extremely important for him or her to have experienced legal counsel. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman can fight to possibly have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

The Hoffman Firm represents clients accused of drug crimes in communities all over the greater Broward County area. Our firm offers a free, confidential consultation that will allow our lawyer to review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.

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