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How Fentanyl is Affecting Our Community


Fentanyl is a drug that is up to100 times more powerful than morphine and up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Although the American public has just recently heard of Fentanyl, it has been around for quite a while. Invented in the 1960’s and approved for medical use in the United States in the 1970’s, I first heard of Fentanyl when I defended a drug dealer’s girlfriend in the 1990’s on charges of Felony Possession With the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl. Her charges were ultimately dismissed, her boyfriend (and many other co-conspirators) were convicted and jailed, and I started learning about this “new drug” called Fentanyl that was ruining lives by causing overdoses and death.

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous?

It takes only about 2 milligrams of fentanyl to overdose. Fentanyl also can be combined with street drugs like heroin or cocaine. We have even had at least one case where marijuana has been laced with Fentanyl. Some drug users are specifically looking to purchase their drug laced with Fentanyl; and in other instances, drug users purchase their drugs completed unaware of the presence of the deadly additive. More recently, drug dealers have been selling straight Fentanyl, which is more profitable for them.

Fentanyl can be made in illegal labs in the US, but most of the Fentanyl that is consumed by American drug users are made in labs run by criminal syndicates in Mexico or China. Sometimes the potency is too high or of poor quality, and as result, unintended overdoses, permanent and/or serious injuries, or death can occur to the drug user. There have been instances that a bad batch of Fentanyl hits a community whereupon dozens of overdoses are reported to area hospitals in a short period of time, overwhelming medical staff and resources. Opioids laced with Fentanyl are responsible for over 70,000 deaths, more than the number of U.S. military personnel killed during the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

Experienced Columbia Drug Crime Attorneys

At Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake (“SZL”), we are mindful of the dangerous consequences of drug use, especially when Fentanyl is involved. Not only do we help our clients with their legal predicament, but SZL is well acquainted with counselors and therapists throughout Maryland’s recovery community to refer our clients who struggle with addiction issues. The is nothing better than fighting for our clients to avoid or to limit their legal consequences, while assisting them in overcoming their destructive and often deadly addiction.