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When can possession turn into a bigger charge in Colorado?

Posted on December 22, 2021

Colorado has experienced a surge in drug-related deaths in 2020 and 2021, which has caused lawmakers to call for reviews of current laws and the implementation of new ones.

Because of the danger presented to state residents, policymakers are stepping in to attempt to reverse this devastating course of action.

What is causing the rise in deaths?

The increase in fatalities is not necessarily connected to an increase in drug use. The high death rate is due to the presence of fentanyl in many types of street drugs. This highly-potent synthetic opioid is sometimes mistaken for other pills, like oxycodone, and is also found laced within drugs like cocaine and heroin. Because it is so strong, even a small amount can be too much for a person’s body to handle.

How does that affect possession charges?

Under current Colorado law, possession of fewer than four grams of fentanyl is a misdemeanor, which is a low-level criminal act and carries a lower level of penalties compared to a felony charge. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency states that two milligrams of this drug can be lethal. Because of the potential for harm presented by an amount as much as four grams, many people are pushing for stricter penalties in an effort to discourage possession and sale. There are other proposed actions, however, which include increased access to naloxone and lowering barriers to access rehabilitation centers.

At this point, most street drugs do contain some amount of fentanyl, which means you may be in possession of it without even knowing.