Much of the national conversation around addiction in recent years has been centered on prescription opioids. While there is good reason for that, it means the resurgence of another drug has been overlooked.

Meth, which not long ago was a dwindling problem, is now a significant issue once again. Deaths involving meth here in Georgia rose throughout much of the past decade, going from 65 in 2010 to more than 200 in 2017. It is an incredibly addictive substance that can disrupt the lives of even the most normal, upstanding individuals.

For someone accused of possessing meth, what types of penalties can they expect if convicted?

Even a small amount can lead to years in prison

Meth is considered a Schedule II controlled substance. That means Georgia law views it as having the high potential for abuse, which may result in severe psychological or physical dependence. A Schedule II classification also means there are some currently accepted medical uses here in the U.S., though with severe restrictions.

Under Georgia law, possessing a Schedule II narcotic or non-narcotic is a felony. A possession conviction can result in a prison sentence of anywhere from two to 30 years in prison. The exact length depends on the amount of the substance in question and whether there have been previous offenses.

Responding to accusations

For someone struggling with addiction and in need of a helping hand, these penalties can seem quite severe. The potential ramifications underscore the importance of a strong legal defense.

An attorney that understands the criminal justice system may be able to help minimize the case’s potential impact on the accused. That might include exploring alternative options, such as a pretrial diversion program, if applicable.