Teens giving away and sharing drugs prosecuted as drug dealers

Drugs like marijuana, heroin and prescription medications have the potential to cause serious harm to teenagers in Illinois and elsewhere who use them. When a negative event occurs, like an overdose or arrest, teenagers increasingly face the possibility of being prosecuted as drug traffickers. Supplying drugs opens the door to serious drug charges even when people do not charge any money for the drugs.

The low street prices of prescription pills make them accessible to teenagers. Adderall, the most popular pill among young people, costs about $10 per pill as do 15-milligram morphine pills from emergency rooms. Some teens also order illicit pills on the dark web and have them delivered to their homes. Teens often pool their money to purchase street drugs or prescription pills or simply steal them from adults' medicine cabinets. They frequently share these drugs among themselves. These methods that many teenagers employ to obtain drugs might not make them think of themselves as drug dealers.

With teen drug overdose deaths on the rise, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, young people face a growing chance of becoming involved in a homicide case. Between 2015 and 2017, prosecutions against people associated with accidental overdose deaths doubled. Charges ranged from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

With the stakes being so high, a person arrested on drug charges might want the support of a criminal defense attorney. Legal representation might protect an individual from aggressive prosecution or challenge evidence gained via an unlawful search and seizure. A lawyer might negotiate with the court to eliminate charges of drug trafficking. When an attorney manages to get charges reduced, a person could improve his or her position and obtain a plea deal that substitutes jail time with participation in a drug diversion program.

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