Methamphetamine (or meth) is a stimulant drug that may be prescribed legally for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, meth also has the potential to be abused, by smoking, swallowing, snorting or injecting the drug.
Meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which lights up the “reward” centers of a person’s brain. The high produced by the drug both comes on and fades quickly, which leads many users to take the drug every few hours for days at a time.
There are many potential health effects of meth use, including the potential to contract diseases such as HIV, extreme weight loss, paranoia, hallucinations, dental problems, anxiety and confusion. It is also possible to overdose on methamphetamine, or even die.
In Kentucky, the sale, use, manufacture and possession of methamphetamine is a criminal offense. It can lead to a range of serious consequences, including jail time. An experienced
Lexington drug defense lawyer can work with you to defend you against meth-related charges.
Methamphetamine Use on the Rise in Kentucky
According to Kentucky State Police, meth use has increased across the state. The state’s forensic lab reports that 51% of all submissions involve methamphetamine. What’s more, lab supervisor Jeremy Triplett states that the meth being tested has become so pure that it is more dangerous than ever before.
Across Kentucky, over 400 law enforcement agencies send drug samples to the state forensic lab for testing. In 2018, the lab tested 27,000 samples. Approximately 51% of those samples were methamphetamine. This number has steadily risen since 2013, when methamphetamine submissions made up just 13.7% of all submissions.
According to local doctors, the number of methamphetamine overdoses seems to be increasing along with use of the drug. Dr. Charles Eckerline, an emergency room physician at the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, reported that patients who are high on a new, more potent type of meth
“….come in very agitated, very stimulated. They require sedation, oftentimes restraints and usually a prolonged period of observation before it’s safe to be discharged.”
Meth has overtaken heroin as the drug of choice in Kentucky. In 2017, methamphetamine was responsible for 29% of all drug-related overdose deaths in the state. This represents a 57% increase in deaths from 2016.
Given the epidemic of meth use in Kentucky, it is important to learn the signs of addiction if you believe that a loved one is abusing this drug. Recognizing the symptoms of abuse may allow you to get your loved one help for their addiction.
Kentucky Law on Meth
Methamphetamine is considered a controlled substance in Kentucky. As a result, possession of even a small amount of meth can result in harsh criminal penalties. Understanding the law regarding meth possession, use, manufacture and sale can help you avoid potential criminal penalties.
Under Kentucky law, possession of meth is a Class D felony offense, punishable by at least one and up to three years incarceration, and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000. For a first or second offense, a judge may sentence a defendant to presumptive probation or to a deferred prosecution program. These options are alternatives to sentencing that allow the defendant to be discharged and released if he or she completes the terms of the program.
A third or greater possession charge will result in jail time, without the possibility of deferred prosecution. If you or a loved one has been charged with meth possession, it is important to determine if you may be eligible for a sentencing alternative that may allow you to seek help for addiction and to avoid possible jail time.
If a person manufactures or possesses the elements used to manufacture meth, he or she could be charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. In Kentucky, this can be charged either for the actual manufacture or the drug, or when a person possesses two or more chemicals or two or more items of equipment for the manufacture of meth. For example, if a person obtains cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine (like Sudafed) and ammonia nitrate, he or she could be charged with this crime.
The manufacture of methamphetamine is a Class B felony for the first offense and a Class A felony for a second or greater offense. A Class B felony is punishable by between 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment. A Class A felony is punishable by 20 to 50 years in prison, or by life in prison.
The sale of a controlled substance such as methamphetamine is also illegal under Kentucky law. The penalty for this offense depends on the quantity of meth sold or intended to be sold.
If a person knowingly and unlawfully traffics (sells) methamphetamine, he or she may be charged with Trafficking in Controlled Substances in the First Degree.
If the quantity sold is two or more grams (at once or in a series of transactions over a period of up to 90 days), it is charged as a Class C felony for a first offense and a Class B felony for a second or greater offense. For any other quantity of meth, it is charged as a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for a second or greater offense. A Class C felony is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
How a Lexington Drug Defense Lawyer Can Help
The use of meth can have serious consequences, both for individuals and for the community as a whole. For this reason, the Kentucky Legislature has imposed severe sanctions for anyone found to possess, sell, or manufacture meth.
At the Baldani Law Group, we are intimately familiar with Kentucky’s drug laws. We believe that each of our clients deserves a strong defense to the charges against them. We work hard to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a Lexington drug defense lawyer, contact our office today at 859-259-0727 or reach out online anytime.