This is my second post in our Handling Arkansas Criminal Cases Involving Methamphetamine series. Our first post served as a general overview of the topics that we will be discussing. In this article we are going to focus on why methamphetamine offenses are taken seriously in Arkansas.
Arkansas’ Methamphetamine Laws Are Strict Because the Drug is Both Easy to Manufacture and Highly Addictive
The number of methamphetamine labs in the United States has increased. Arkansas is no exception, in fact, meth labs are prevalent here. Methamphetamine production is on a rise because it is easy to construct small labs in people’s own homes, making it difficult to detect where each lab is located. Also, the drug is often made up of ordinary household products, sometimes even natural products, such as sassafras. Because there are a wide variety of ways to produce methamphetamine it is hard to regulate the sale of all of these items.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. Withdrawal syndrome can occur within 24 hours of a last dose[i]. It is reported that chronic long-term users who quit using meth abruptly suffer serious withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms in chronic, high-dose users are frequent, occurring in up to 87.6% of cases, and persist for three to four weeks with a marked “crash” phase occurring during the first week. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, drug craving, dysphoric mood, fatigue, increased appetite, increased movement or decreased movement, lack of motivation, sleeplessness or sleepiness, and vivid or lucid dreams. The extremity of withdrawal symptoms correlates with the degree of dependence (i.e., the extent of abuse). The mental depression associated with methamphetamine withdrawal lasts longer and is more severe than that of cocaine withdrawal.[ii]
Cases Which Involve Methamphetamine Are Punished Severely Due to How Such Cases Impact the Safety of Arkansas Residents
Meth addicts often commit other crimes in order to support their habit, such as burglary or robbery. It is not unusual for them to commit grand larceny or robbery, which means, possession of a gun while committing the crimes. Also, because of the toxicity of methamphetamine, the places where the labs are located, often one’s home, become extremely hazardous and often have to be condemned. Not to mention that methamphetamine is highly explosive and often causes severe fires that may take out an entire neighborhood.
Penalties for meth related crimes are based on the amount of the drug seized at the time of the arrest. Arkansas sentences for meth related crimes can range anywhere from 3 years up to 40 years imprisonment depending on the severity of the crime committed. A simple possession charge of less than 2g is subject to 3 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine. Punishment becomes more severe for manufacturing meth, manufacturing meth in the presence of children, and distribution to minors.
The punishments in Arkansas for meth related crimes are severe and may cost you a lifetime in prison. If you have been accused of a meth related crime in Arkansas then you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
[i] Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal. In Shoptaw SJ. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. (2): CD003021.
[ii] Winslow BT, Voorhees KI, Pehl KA (2007). Methamphetamine abuse. American Family Physician 76 (8): 1169–1174.