A Quick Guide to Florida’s Drug Laws
Published September 09, 2020
Florida and the United States, in general, take a tough stance against illegal drugs. In fact, 48.9% of federal convictions in Florida in 2001 alone are drug-related.
The state’s proximity to drug-producing countries makes it a hotbed for the illegal drug trade. This is also why Florida’s drug laws are pretty strict. Even the simple mistake of carrying marijuana without medical prescription can land you up to a year in prison and or a $1,000 fine.
The punishment, however, generally depends on which drug you are caught with.
Florida’s Drug Schedule
Not all illegal drug convictions in Florida have the same prison time. The state maintains a drug schedule that classifies controlled substances based on their medical value and likelihood of abuse.
Substances under this schedule have no proven medical value and have a high likelihood of abuse. This includes:
- Fentanyl Derivatives
These are substances with high potential for abuse and have currently accepted but severely restricted medical uses. The abuse of these substances can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. This includes:
- Opium or any salt, compound, or a derivative thereof;
- Any part of the opium poppy plant
- Cocaine or Ecgonaine
Substances with lesser potential for abuse than those in Schedules I and II and with accepted medical use belong here. Some of them are:
- Barbituric acid or any derivative thereof;
- Anabolic steroids
Substances under this schedule have a lower potential for abuse than those in Schedule III and have accepted medical uses. Abuse of these substances may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. Examples are:
Substances in this list have lower abuse potential than those in the previous schedule and have accepted medical uses. This includes:
Controlled substances under Schedule I often have heavier punishment than the rest. The lower the drug’s potential abuse, the lesser is its penalty. This is why possession of drugs under schedule V often have lighter punishments. For the complete schedule, just log-on to Florida’s senate site.
Facing the Outside World
The second a prisoner steps out of the prison gate, their life changes. Gone are the morning counts and prison guards banging on cell bars. No more calls for breakfast or the struggle to get things from the commissary. They can make and receive calls whenever they want, eat to their heart’s desire, or wear clothes that are still in fashion. (Related: What’s in a Prison Menu?)
While this all sounds liberating, the prisoner might experience a culture shock. Remember, they were out of the loop for a time. A lot has changed since the day they went inside. Things that for us are very easy can become a challenge for them. Some prisoners are even daunted at the sight of smartphones and electronic bus cards. They can get very disoriented and scared.
Aside from fear and confusion, prisoners also have to deal with self-esteem issues. Ex-convicts aren’t really favorably looked upon in society. Employment opportunities can be scarce too. Many of them also don’t have any skills to make a living from and the fact that even ordering coffee can confuse them doesn’t help either. All these can affect how they view themselves and crumble their self-confidence. This can lead to another problem: depression.
Depression is very common among newly released prisoners. The struggles of adjusting to their new life, looking for a job and coping with social stigma can take its toll on one’s mental health. Yet, not all of them can afford therapy or have a family to help them through these hard times.
Some prisoners, especially those who’ve been inside for most of their adult life, have no one to call family. Or even someone from outside who remembers them. (Some institutions blame this partly on overpriced prison calls and the lack of cheap jail call alternatives.) Prison has been their life and most of the people they consider family is in there. With no one to turn to and no house to live in, most prisoners have no choice but to go back. Prison isn’t pleasant by any stretch of the imagination but for these people, it’s better than freezing to death on some sidewalk.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of sharing knowledge. Having extensive experience in the prison industry, she wants to share what she knows with the world. Judy also loves to write about political and legal topics.