Drug distribution: What you need to know

It’s no secret that drug abuse in a nationwide epidemic. It’s hard to turn on the news or open a paper these days without reading about deaths from overdoses.

Legislative bodies around the country are creating laws to slow the flow of drugs – from better securing our ports to monitoring how doctors prescribe medications. But when talking about moving drugs, it’s important to know what the terms mean.

What is drug distribution?

On a global scale, drug distribution is usually known as drug trafficking. Trafficking is the “illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws,” according to the U.N.

Some states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, have specific law referred to as drug trafficking. This usually refers to the quantity of drugs sold and the frequency in which they’re sold.

In New Jersey, however, uses the blanket term drug distribution is used to cover creation, distribution and intent to distribute drugs. This involves moving drugs across borders, from a safehouse to a sale or selling directly to a buyer.

How do possession and distribution differ?

In New Jersey, and elsewhere, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly obtain or possess drugs. This includes drug paraphernalia and unprescribed prescription drugs.

While you can get be cited for possession for just having drugs on you, evidence that you intend to distribute drugs can include possession of baggies or other drug containers, having a scale, being in possession of a list of drug contacts or other evidence. Evidence can also include a police officer or other official witnessing what he or she interprets to be a drug deal.

Punishments for distribution

Distribution of drugs is a serious crime in New Jersey, and the consequences reflect that. Jail sentences range from three to 20 years, with mandatory minimums in some cases. Most convictions also include a fine, which can go up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on quantity and the type of drug.

What’s next?

If charged with drug distribution in New Jersey, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney. A conviction for selling drugs can bring with it a lifetime of consequences.

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