Florida governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law which will charge drug dealers who sell fentanyl with a fatality resulting with first degree homicide. The minimum penalty for first degree homicide in Florida is life without possibility of parole, or capital punishment. The methods of capital punishment in the state of Florida are lethal injection or the electric chair.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is used in small intravenous doses for management of acute severe pain from trauma, during surgical procedures, or as a transdermal patch for chronic pain from cancer or other serious diseases. It has become a popular choice among drug dealers to adulterate heroin.
Heroin is an abused opiate derived from morphine, which is made from the sap of the opium poppy. Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked. It produces an immediate orgasmic rush, followed by several hours of a warm, drowsy relaxed, carefree feeling. This sensation comes with a heavy price: after regular use, the user’s body will adapt and if the drug is not administered daily, very painful and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will occur. In this way, heroin addicts become enslaved to the drug. It is very difficult if not impossible to stop using without professional assistance. Addicts so desperately crave the counterfeit peace of heroin and so dread the agony of withdrawal that they will do anything to get more heroin. They will sell their most valued possessions; including their own body, lie, cheat, steal, and abandon any previously held morals or standards of behavior. They will also abandon all caution, and become fearless about what they put into their bodies, and how they get the drug into their bodies. They will re-use and share dirty dull needles or tooters (a section of a straw, pen, or other hollow tube for snorting drugs) and will be indifferent about what they are actually injecting as long as it gets them high and prevents withdrawal.
Addicts overdose when they consume the same volume of white powder as they are accustomed to, but have got something which is higher potency then they are accustomed to. The weight and volume of heroin is increased to maximize profits by adulterating or cutting it with almost any water soluble white powder, Often, the adulterants or cutting agents are inert, such as backing soda or confectionary sugar. Sometimes, they are active, such as fentanyl. Th effects of fentanyl are generally indistinguishable from heroin, but fentanyl is more potent. Even a small amount can produce an overdose resulting in respiratory depression and death.
Heroin addicts are society’s unwanted. But they are also someone’s mother, father, brother sister, wife husband, or son or daughter. A fatal overdose means they will never have the chance to get into recovery and become responsible and productive citizens, or good parents. The dealers who share responsibility for their deaths need to be held accountable.