Methamphetamine -- also called ice, speed, crank, or meth -- is a highly addictive man-made stimulant that has long-lasting and harmful effects on a person's central nervous system. In Arizona, methamphetamine is listed as a Dangerous Drug, and possessing or selling it has serious legal consequences. Here's what to know.
Methamphetamine is Highly Addictive
Although the opioid addiction crisis frequently makes the news, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists methamphetamine as the number one drug threat in Arizona in the 2018 Drug Threat Assessment. While small, in-state labs still produce a small amount of methamphetamine, the majority of the drug in the state comes across the border from Mexico where it is produced in "Super Labs" and sometimes laced with Fentanyl, making it even more lethal.
Arizona law contains harsh penalties for methamphetamine possession and possession for sale because the drug is highly addictive and can cause permanent physical and psychological damage. Methamphetamine can be fatal the first time a person uses it, even if the user is healthy. Serious side effects include:
- irregular heartbeat,
- brain hemorrhage,
- lung collapse,
- heart attack, or
The drug also raises the user's body temperature, which can cause death by sudden extreme hyperthermia.
Methamphetamine use also has long-term consequences. Users are more likely to contract HIV or AIDS because the drug lowers inhibitions, which increases risky behavior. Some users report feeling bugs crawling under their skin, which causes them to scratch until their skin is covered in hard-to-heal sores. The ingredients in methamphetamine are corrosive, so the smoke damages everything it contacts -- including the user's teeth and their mucous membranes.
Methamphetamine addiction is one of the hardest addictions to treat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications for treating methamphetamine addiction. The only available treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Arizona Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession
In 1996, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, which offered treatment and probation without prison to some first- and second-time personal possession drug offenders. However, due to the ongoing methamphetamine epidemic in the state and ineffective treatment programs, Arizona voters approved Proposition 301 in 2006, which made personal possession of methamphetamine ineligible for probation-only sentencing.
Possession for Personal Use
Personal possession of methamphetamine is a Class 4 felony in Arizona. This carries a 2.5-year presumptive prison sentence.
Possession for Sale
If you are arrested for possessing more than 9 grams of methamphetamine, you may be charged with possessing a dangerous drug for sale, which has more severe penalties. This is a Class 2 Felony, which carries a 10-year presumptive prison sentence and you are not eligible for parole.
Anyone convicted of a felony in Arizona also faces fines up to $150,000.
Experienced Methamphetamine Offense Lawyer in Northern Arizona
Due to methamphetamine's highly addictive nature, Arizona law treats possession and possession for sale very seriously. If you have been charged with a methamphetamine-related crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom. Shawn B. Hamp is a former drug crimes prosecutor with the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team (M.A.G.N.E.T.). He understands all the important details of Arizona's Dangerous Drug laws to build the strongest defense on your behalf.
If you have been charged with methamphetamine possession or possession for sale in Mohave, Yavapai, Coconino, or La Paz counties in Northern Arizona, contact The Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today.