Over the past ten years, Colorado has struggled with substantial growth in the misuse of prescription drugs. Between 2000 and 2011, the number of prescription drug deaths related to abuse among Coloradans quadrupled. And an equally alarming number was admitted for drug and alcohol treatment in Colorado Springs, Co.
Colorado ranks second-worst in the U.S. for prescription drug misuse,according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The top five most commonly abused substances in Colorado are:
- Heroin and prescription opioids
While Colorado works to crack down on prescription drug abuse, many people addicted to medicinal drugs turn to heroin. identical to prescription painkillers, heroin is derived from opium and produces the same euphoric effect. As regulations on medicines stiffen, heroin has become the go-to replacement drug. This has led to a severe heroin problem statewide, with the number of users multiplying each year.
Colorado lawmakers face another distinct challenge: marijuana abuse, as it was the initiial state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. Since passing the ballot in 2012, legalized recreational marijuana has built a blurred relationship between federal regulations and Colorado laws. however, the U.S. Department of Justice is focusing on serious marijuana trafficking and illegal possession among minors throughout Colorado.
Laws of Colorado Drug Use
Colorado drug abuse penalties cause a minimum and maximum sentence. The suggested sentencing is usually at the discretion of the Colorado courts.
The three types of punshible crimes relating to drugs involve:
- Distribution: Selling or helping move the drug.
- Possession: owning the substance on you or around your property.
- Manufacture: Producing an illicit drug.
To determine the right fines and sentencing, drugs are classified into one of five schedules based on their dependency and addiction potential. Schedules I and II include medicines with the highest potential for misuse with little or no known medicicinal use. These include drugs like opiates, LSD, and cocaine. On the other hand of the scale, schedules III, IV, and V are made up of medications with lower risks for dependency and approved medical uses. These include substances such as tramadol,, codeine, and buprenorphine.
For instance, Colorado drug statutes state that a cocaine ownership charge can come with six years’ prison time plus up to $500,000 in fines. However, selling/trafficking cocaine is a more serious offense with a prison sentence of up to twelve years and $750,000 in fines.
Drug ownershi[ charges in the state of Colorado are categorized into schedules based on their potentail risk of addiction. Marijuana is the only sepate drugs and has its separate regulations.
Recreational marijuana was mad e in Colorado in 2012. Since marijuana is controlled and taxable, it does not fall under the same scheduling method as other drugs. Legally, Coloradans that are 21 years of age or older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana.