DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado law enforcement agencies are taking full advantage of the state’s new fentanyl-specific drug charges.
Colorado’s new fentanyl-specific laws are used often, according to Colorado judicial branch case records. The law went into effect on July 1.
Since then, law enforcement agencies have brought 742 cases into court. This total includes 367 felony cases – about two and a half new felony fentanyl cases per day.
The Colorado legislature passed a law in 2019 that made possession of fewer than four grams of illegal drugs a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Afterward, the state’s fentanyl-related overdoses skyrocketed.
Lawmakers acknowledged that the synthetic opioid fentanyl needs different laws considering its deadliness. In May, they passed a new law that makes it a class four felony to possess between one and four grams of fentanyl. Class four felonies include sexual assault, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and identity theft and are punishable by fines of $2,000 to $500,000 and two to six years in prison.
Anything less than a gram is still a misdemeanor.
Certain counties are bringing more fentanyl cases to court than others.
Adams County is the state’s fentanyl capital, according to case data. There have been 117 fentanyl cases since July 1. Larimer County, which borders Wyoming and includes Loveland and Fort Collins has brought the second-most with 113 since July 1.
Denver, El Paso and Jefferson counties round out the top five locations for fentanyl charges.