Throughout Delaware County in 2018, there were over 2,830 drug violations reported. This represents a microcosm of a large national problem that involves drugs. In 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) report. The report is based on data compiled from all levels of government, in addition to information from public health departments and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Nationwide Outlook on Illicit Drugs
The NDTA summarized the impact of illegal drugs. Drug trafficking continues to be a health and national security concern. Drug overdoses (poisoning) are increasingly leading to injuries and roughly 170 fatalities a day. The problem of prescription opioid abuse has improved due to various new measures; however, heroin is still a major problem and there has been a surge in the supply of synthetic opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that fatalities from synthetic opioids rose by over 45% in 2017. Other drugs that are linked to addiction, crime, and overdoses include methamphetamine, cocaine, and new psychoactive substance (NPS) manufacturing.
Delaware County Treatment Court
The Delaware County's Drug Treatment Court is a rigorous drug program that treats those charged with drug-related offenses. It can be described as a 30-month supervisory probation period and an intensive drug rehabilitation program combined. The offenders admitted to the program are placed in one of two “tracks” based on the level of their offense(s) as follows:
This group is composed of Level 1 and Level 2 non-violent offenders. The participants are placed in housing units and have access to job and skills training. Offenders are tested regularly for potential drug and/or alcohol use as part of their treatment. The criminal proceedings are all placed on hold during the treatment period and the charges may be dismissed and expunged upon successful completion.
This group is composed of Level 3 and Level 4 non-violent offenders. These participants agree to plead guilty to the charge(s) and are transitioned into a 30-month “intermediate punishment” and treatment program. The treatment allows the offender to avoid jail time and make progress while housing and vocational skills and training are provided.
Types of Drug Offenses
- Simple possession: The individual knowingly possesses a controlled substance. These charges generally are punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. These penalties are significantly increased when the offender has prior offenses or is located in proximity to a school. Courts may impose driver's license suspensions for violations regardless of whether the offender is operating a vehicle at the time.
- Intent to deliver: Drug trafficking or distribution charges are classified as “possession with intent to deliver.” The penalties generally included significant periods of incarceration and fines. These penalties escalate when a prior conviction exists and according to the classification of the controlled substance involved.
- Charges such as manufacturing or cultivation are generally subject to the same penalties and enhancements as the aforementioned intent to deliver provisions.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Generally a misdemeanor charge with a maximum one year in jail and maximum of a $2,500 fine.
- Minor involvement: Penalties are usually enhanced when adult offenders are found to have committed these offenses with any involvement of a minor.
Delaware County Drug Offense Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been representing clients in the greater Delaware County region with drug-related charges for years. This level of experience is critical due to the potentially harsh penalties imposed as a result of a conviction. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.