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Prevention Services: Drugs, Your Body & the Law

DRUGS AND YOUR BODY

NARCOTICS (Heroin):
Initial euphoria followed by drowsiness and nausea; Constricted pupils, watery eyes, dazed look; Overdose may produce slow, shallow breathing, clammy skin, loss of appetite and weight and possible death.

DEPRESSANTS (Barbiturates, Tranquilizers):
Relaxed muscles, calmness, drowsiness; Confusion, disorientation, slurred speech; Overdose may produce shallow breathing, clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, coma, and possible death.

STIMULANTS (Cocaine, Methamphetamine):
Increased heart and respiratory rate, elevated blood pressure, decreased appetite; Blurred vision, dizziness, insomnia, anxiety; High doses can cause physical collapse, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and possible death.

HALLUCINOGENS (LSD, PCP, Mushrooms):
Illusions and hallucinations; Confusion, panic, anxiety, depression, and poor perception of time and distance; Respiratory failure, death due to careless behavior

CANNABIS (Marijuana, Hashish):
Increase in heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, increased appetite; Interferes with memory, speech, coordination and perception of time; Increased risk of lung cancer, weakened immune system, and affects reproductive system.

DRUGS AND THE LAW

FEDERAL LAW

Federal law prohibits the illegal manufacture, distribution, possession with intent to distribute and simple possession of controlled substances, including but not limited to heroin, morphine, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), hashish, marijuana and controlled stimulants and depressants including but not limited to amphetamines and barbiturates.

The penalties for such offenses include imprisonment and/or fines; the severity of the penalty depends upon such factors as the nature and amount of the controlled substance at issue. Penalties may be compounded for repeat offenses and for distribution of controlled substances to persons under 21 years of age and/or within certain distance of schools, including colleges and universities.

The penalties for trafficking or unlawful distribution of controlled substances range from 10 years to life in prison and/or a fine of $100,000 to $20 million. Certain violations carry mandatory minimum prison sentences of five to ten years. For example, the possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a substance containing detectable amounts of cocaine carries a term of imprisonment of not less that 10 years and up to life imprisonment. In regard to possession for personal use, a general rule is that federal law considers anything more that a dosage unit as being sufficient from which to infer an intent to distribute.

VERMONT STATE LAW

State law prohibits the illegal possession and/or sale of regulated substances such as heroin,cocaine, LSD and marijuana, and preparations, compounds or mixtures containing such substances. State law further prohibits the illegal possession and/or sale of narcotics, hallucinogens, stimulants or depressants. State law also prohibits the sale, possession and manufacture of drug paraphernalia.

The penalties for such offenses include imprisonment and/or fines; the severity of the penalty depends upon such factors as the nature and the amount of the controlled substance at issue. Penalties may be compounded for repeat offenses and for delivery or sale of regulated substances to minors and on school ground. Unlawful sale, possession, delivery and manufacture of depressants, stimulants, narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs carry a penalty of up to twenty years in jail and/or a fine of not more than one million dollars. Unlawful sale, possession, delivery and manufacture of marijuana is punishable with imprisonment of not more than 15 years and/or fines up to $500,000.

Note: These descriptions of Federal and State law are intended to provide general, representative information only. For additional information regarding these laws, and the penalties associated with their violation, please contact the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Burlington at 951-6725 (federal law); and the Office of the State's Attorney in Burlington at 863-2865 (state and local laws). Also, see the Vermont Statutes Home Page for detailed legal definitions.

Last modified July 30 2017 08:04 PM

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