Understanding Arkansas Fentanyl Laws: What You Need to Know

Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024 at 8:00 pm    


Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, has been at the center of the opioid crisis in the United States. In 2022 alone there were nearly 300 deaths recorded in Arkansas which were attributed to fentanyl, up from just eight recorded deaths in 2018. In Arkansas, lawmakers have taken recent steps through legislation like the Fentanyl Enforcement and Accountability Act to address the growing concerns surrounding fentanyl abuse and trafficking. Understanding the laws and regulations regarding fentanyl in Arkansas is crucial for both individuals and law enforcement agencies. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of Arkansas fentanyl laws to provide clarity on this important issue.

Overview of Fentanyl Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas has stringent laws in place to combat the illegal possession, distribution, and trafficking of fentanyl. Under Arkansas law, fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating its high potential for abuse and serious consequences of misuse. While fentanyl is typically prescribed for moderate to severe pain, it’s difficult to turn on an Arkansas news station and not view a report of someone overdosing from the drug. Given the fatality statistics routinely reported, it’s not surprising that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Possession of Fentanyl

In Arkansas, the possession of fentanyl without a valid prescription is a serious offense. Individuals found in possession of even small amounts of fentanyl can face felony charges, resulting in substantial fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record that can have long-lasting consequences. Being in possession of less than 2 grams of fentanyl (even one tablet) can get you charged with a class D felony in the state of Arkansas.

Trafficking and Distribution of Fentanyl

The trafficking and distribution of fentanyl in Arkansas are considered major criminal offenses. Law enforcement agencies actively target individuals and organizations involved in the illegal trafficking of fentanyl to curb the spread of this dangerous drug. Perpetrators caught trafficking fentanyl face severe penalties, including a lengthy 25-year minimum prison sentence and significant fines. Being in possession of more than 200 grams of fentanyl is an offense punishable by up to life in prison as a Y felony conviction. On top of that, there is a mandatory one-million dollar fine imposed on any adjudication of guilt under Arkansas statute.

What if you simply expose someone to the drug? In 2023, The Arkansas legislature passed Act 739 which made it a criminal offense to knowingly expose another individual to fentanyl. If that individual becomes sick, the individual who exposed them to the drug could face a Y felony with a sentence of up to life in an Arkansas state prison. For someone who knowingly exposes a minor to fentanyl and the child dies, the defendant could face the charge of first degree murder.

Penalties for Fentanyl-Related Offenses

As mentioned above, the penalties for fentanyl-related offenses in Arkansas are severe and vary depending on the circumstances of the case, such as the quantity of fentanyl involved, prior criminal record, and intent of the individual. Individuals convicted of fentanyl-related crimes may face mandatory minimum sentences and substantial fines, highlighting the state’s commitment to combatting the opioid epidemic. Just selling a small amount of fentanyl to a confidential informant could have someone facing life in prison. As fentanyl-related sentencing laws continue to become stricter, a defendant can expect to serve most if not all of their prison sentence without ever becoming parole eligible.

Legal Defenses for Fentanyl Charges

If you are facing fentanyl-related charges in Arkansas or Oklahoma, it is crucial to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, assess the evidence against you, and develop a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and ensure a fair trial. Common legal defenses for fentanyl charges may include improper search and seizure, lack of intent, or mistaken identity. Whether you live in the Fort Smith area or elsewhere, we are available to help if you or a loved one is charged with felony fentanyl possession.

Resources for Individuals Affected by Fentanyl

For individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction or seeking assistance for themselves or a loved one, Arkansas offers resources and support services to address substance abuse issues. These resources include addiction treatment programs, counseling services, and rehabilitation centers aimed at helping individuals overcome addiction and reclaim their lives. Some of these groups also provide free naloxone to the public to help save the life of someone suffering a fentanyl overdose.

Many counties throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma offer drug court programs to help addicts gain control of their lives in lieu of serving prison time. These programs focus more on rehabilitation and counseling as opposed to strict punishment. There have been recent signs that these collective efforts may be working in battling the opioid epidemic. Reports show that the total number of overdose-related deaths actually reduced slightly in 2023, giving some semblance of hope on the horizon in battling this drug epidemic.


Fentanyl abuse and trafficking pose significant challenges to public health and safety in Arkansas. By understanding the Arkansas fentanyl laws and regulations, individuals can make informed decisions to avoid criminal liability and protect themselves from the harmful effects of this potent opioid. If you are facing fentanyl-related charges in Fort Smith, Van Buren, or the surrounding area, it is essential to seek legal guidance to navigate the legal process effectively. Together, we can help you get through this tumultuous time while simultaneously working towards combating the opioid crisis and promoting a healthier, safer community for all Arkansans.

Powell & Rose Law Firm can help if you or a loved one has been charged with possession of drugs or paraphernalia. Call 479-222-6773 to schedule a free consultation with an aggressive Fort Smith criminal defense attorney. (Also licensed in Oklahoma and Texas)

This blog is for educational purposes as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. In reading this blog you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the author. Use this information at your own risk as this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.