The Grundy County Herald reports that drug overdose deaths in Tennessee increased from 1,451 in 2015 to 1,631 in 2016. This is the highest number of drug overdose deaths in our State’s history. Driving the increase is fentanyl, a narcotic designed to treat severe pain but that can be deadlier than heroin. While drug overdose deaths have increased by 12% from 2015 to 2016, fentanyl overdose deaths have increased 74% in that time period.
Currently, fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance in Tennessee. The illegal manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell fentanyl is a Class C Felony with up to a $100,000 fine. A Class C Felony carries a sentence of 3-15 years, depending on a defendant’s classification. If the defendant carried or employed a deadly weapon during the commission of the above offense or if the offense resulted in the death or bodily injury to a person, the offense is a Class B Felony with up to a $100,000 fine. A Class B Felony carries a sentence of 8-30 years, depending on a defendant’s classification. Both versions of the crime have minimum fines of $2,000 for the first conviction, $3,000 for the second conviction, and $5,000 for third or subsequent conviction.
On the other hand, the simple possession or the casual exchange of fentanyl without a prescription is an A misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. The maximum fine is $2,500. The minimum fine is $750 for the first conviction, $850 for the second conviction, and $1,000 for the third or subsequent conviction.
As always, contact an attorney in your area to go over the specific details of your case.