A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
Wyoming has had a substance abuse problem for a long time. The names of the drugs change, but the impact, and the need for high-quality legal representation, stays the same.
Alcohol has always been a problem.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, methamphetamine took hold.
Today, heroin addiction has reared its ugly head.
Since 2000, Wyoming has seen a change in its statistics for drug crimes. The number of Wyoming arrests for alcohol related crimes has decreased, while the number of drug crimes continues to rise, according to the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. This is largely due to increased efforts to target and prosecute drunk drivers and other alcohol related offenses, which have resulted in higher arrest rates for DWUIs and other alcohol related crimes.
Wyoming’s growing population, driven by jobs related to the energy industry, is drawing new and more drugs into the Cowboy state. Arrests for drug crimes have increased by 37 percent since 2013. As Wyoming’s population increases and neighboring states legalize marijuana, Wyoming has seen an influx of drugs.
People are bringing marijuana into Wyoming from Colorado and Washington, where it can be grown legally, via Interstate 80 and Interstate 90.
Additionally, more marijuana is being grown in the U.S. as many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana remains illegal in Wyoming, even for medical purposes.
In 2015, Wyoming lawmakers considered but ultimately rejected House Bill 187, which called for a study on the impact of marijuana on the criminal justice system, public health, and state revenue.
Currently, people caught with up to three ounces of marijuana face misdemeanor convictions with penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine of $1,000. A third conviction is a felony that can result in a five-year prison sentence and a fine of $5,000.
The early-2000s brought the advent of a methamphetamine problem in Wyoming.
Methamphetamine use in Wyoming was higher than the national average, as Wyoming ranked:
In 2007, 94% of drug related offenses were meth-related.
Like marijuana, methamphetamines are covered under Wyoming's Controlled Substances Act. Penalties for possession of a controlled substance, in the case meth up to 3 grams, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year on prison and a a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than 3 grams is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Today, Wyoming’s is facing a problem with heroin.
Heroin addiction often begins with the use and abuse of strong prescription painkillers. Post-surgical and chronic pain patients become addicted to prescription medications like hydrocodone and Percocet. From there, they turn to illegal drugs like heroin to manage their symptoms.
One heroin user who suffered chronic pain and experienced difficulty walking, said that on his first time using heroin “the pain just went away and I could walk again.”
Most heroin addicts begin by using prescription pain medications, including Vicodin, Percocet, or Oxycodone. They quickly graduate to heroin because it’s cheaper, easier to find than prescription drugs, and provides a better high.
In fact, some law enforcement officials surmise that heroin use is on the rise because the medical community has tightened up prescribing practices when it comes to prescription pain medications.
The legal consequences of a drug addiction can be daunting. Drug addicts may face charges of drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, or theft crimes because of the need to fund the addiction.
If you or someone you love is facing legal problems because of addiction, Just Criminal Law is here to help. Whether it’s alcoholism, a problem with methamphetamines, or a heroin addiction, if you or someone you love is facing drug charges in Wyoming, contact my team of criminal defense professionals today. Call us at (307) 686-6556, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.