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The Recent Fentanyl and Opioid Epidemic 

Defend Ocala June 5, 2024

Vial of Fentanyl with tablets and syringeThe opioid crisis has gripped the nation for over two decades, but in recent years, it's taken a darker turn with the rise of fentanyl—a powerful synthetic opioid.  

At Defend Ocala, we have experienced defense attorneys who understand the devastating impact this epidemic has had on individuals and families in our community.  

Let’s take a closer look at the current state of the fentanyl and opioid epidemic, the specific challenges it presents, and what steps you can take if you or a loved one is affected. 

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Originally developed for pain management, particularly for cancer patients, its potency has made it a focal point in the opioid epidemic. It’s often mixed with other drugs, sometimes without the user's knowledge, leading to increased rates of overdose and death.  

Also, drugs similar to fentanyl, called fentanyl analogs, are sometimes made illegally and can be even stronger and more dangerous. These analogs can have different strengths, making it hard for users to safely measure doses, thus increasing the risk of accidental overdose. 

The Extent of the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has evolved over the years, largely fueled by prescription opioid misuse, but the arrival of fentanyl has led to a spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioids like fentanyl are now the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States. The CDC reported that in 2020, nearly 92,000 drug overdose deaths occurred, with synthetic opioids accounting for about 56,000 of these fatalities. 

In Ocala, Marion County, and Lake County, the impact of fentanyl and opioids is felt deeply. Local law enforcement and healthcare providers are on the front lines of this crisis, working tirelessly to save lives and support affected families. At Defend Ocala, we have witnessed firsthand the legal and personal challenges that arise from this epidemic.  

Legal Consequences and Florida-Specific Laws

If you're involved in the opioid crisis in some way, you need to be familiar with the state laws. Florida has strict rules about possessing, distributing, and selling opioids like fentanyl. 


Possessing any amount of fentanyl is a serious offense in Florida. Even trace amounts can lead to felony charges, carrying severe penalties, including substantial prison time. 


Florida law defines trafficking in fentanyl as possessing, selling, or transporting four grams or more of the substance. The penalties for trafficking are among the harshest, including mandatory minimum sentences that increase with the amount of fentanyl involved. 

Good Samaritan Law 

Florida has a Good Samaritan Law that encourages individuals to seek medical assistance during an overdose situation without fear of prosecution for possession. This law has saved countless lives by removing the hesitation to call for help. 

Doctor Shopping 

Individuals seeking multiple prescriptions from different doctors, a practice known as "doctor shopping," can face criminal charges. Florida law prevents patients from obtaining more opioids than medically necessary by making this activity illegal. 

Prescription Database 

Florida uses a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which requires healthcare providers to check a patient's prescription history before prescribing controlled substances. This program aims to reduce prescription drug abuse and prevent overdoses by monitoring and controlling opioid distribution. 

Steps to Take if You're Affected

If you or a loved one is caught in the grip of the fentanyl and opioid crisis, here’s what you can do: 

Seek Medical Help 

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately. The Good Samaritan Law in Florida protects you from prosecution for possession when seeking medical help for an overdose. 

Get Legal Advice 

Contact us at Defend Ocala to discuss your situation. We'll provide a confidential consultation to explore your options and find solutions. 

Explore Treatment Options 

Numerous local organizations offer support and treatment for opioid addiction. Recovery is possible, and seeking help is the first step. 

Attend Support Groups

Joining a support group can provide emotional and psychological assistance. These groups offer a safe space to share experiences, gain insights, and build a community of individuals who understand the challenges of addiction. Organizations like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and local community centers often host these meetings. 

At Defend Ocala, we understand that those caught in the web of opioid addiction need compassion and effective legal representation. Jeff, our founding attorney, has years of experience defending clients against various offenses, including drug crimes. Once retained, we make sure you fully understand your legal rights and options. 

Help Is Here When You Need It Most

The fentanyl and opioid epidemic is a daunting challenge and comes with disastrous consequences. The good news is, you’re not alone in this. With Defend Ocala, you have a compassionate legal ally who will walk through this difficult path with you and work toward a brighter future. 

We proudly serve clients throughout Marion County and Lake County, including Clermont, Leesburg, Tavares, and Eustis. Let’s do this together.