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“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio

What Constitutes Narcotics?

Possession of narcotics for distribution or personal use is a serious crime. People who are addicted to narcotics lose control of their lives. To support their habits, they commit various crimes, including burglary, armed robbery, car theft and shoplifting. What are narcotics, and why would a person take the chance to become addicted?

Narcotics are legally defined in Section 802 of Title 21 of the United States Code Controlled Substances Act. A narcotic drug can be produced from a plant, or it can be synthesized in a lab. Some narcotics are made with a combination of the two methods. Section 802 lists a few substances that are classified as narcotics.

  • Opium comes from the seed pod of the poppy plant. The pod ripens about 10 days after the plant loses its flowers. Then, the pod is slit, and the sap drains out of it. When it dries, it is harvested. Substances made from opium are called opiates. Pure opium resin is smoked. Morphine, heroin and codeine are forms of refined opium resin. Opiates are used medicinally for controlling pain, but their use is controlled because opiates are addictive.
  • Synthetic opiates are chemical copies of opiates that are created in a laboratory. Codeine and fentanyl are both used for pre-surgery pain control. Because these two drugs are clinically produced, they are pure and very addictive.
  • Hydrocodone and oxycodone are synthetic derivatives of opium that are made from the opium alkaloid thebaine. Common products that use these drugs are Vicodin, Percodan and Oxycontin. Oxycontin is a time-released version that has recently been abused by addicts because it can be crushed and injected. These drugs are also addictive.
  • Products made from the coca plant are also classified as narcotics. Cocaine and the derivative “crack” originate from the coca plant. Cocaine is not physically addictive, but it is psychologically habit-forming.
  • All substances containing any quantity of opiates, synthetic opiates or cocaine are considered to be narcotics.

It is illegal to possess, distribute or sell narcotics in Ohio and the United States. Penalties can be very harsh.

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