Difficulties in using fentanyl include the usual problems associated with all opioids of tolerance and sensitivity, although the (illegal) availability of the drugs in lethal amounts and the relatively small physical size of the lethal dose needed, reduces this problem. The availability of an effective antidote (naloxone) means that care should be taken to avoid interruption when taking fentanyl to die.
Most prescription drugs (including fentanyl and morphine) can be lawfully possessed by a person if they have had it prescribed by a physician. Otherwise, the penalty for importing/ possessing drugs such as fentanyl (<0.005gm) and morphine (<2 grams) in Australia, for example, is up to 10 years imprisonment and a $360,000 fine. The higher the amount of the drug possessed, the higher the penalties. Similar penalties apply for Heroin that is an Australian ‘border controlled drug’.
In the UK, heroin, fentanyl & morphine are all Class A drugs with potential maximum penalties of life imprisonment for the upper end of importation. In saying that, data shows that the penalties normally range from 3 years for the less serious offences (having a lesser role in the importation or importing small amounts).
In the United States heroin is a Schedule I Controlled substance. The penalties for importing <100gms are up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine up to one million dollars. Penalties for the importation of >100gms range up to life imprisonment and fines of up to ten million dollars. Fentanyl and morphine in the US are Schedule II Controlled Substances and share the same penalties as Schedule I drugs listed above for lesser amounts. Larger amounts can mean life imprisonment.