– As overdose deaths continue to skyrocket, with no relief on the horizon, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) today introduced legislation that would create stiffer criminal penalties for any defendant who knowingly or intentionally manufactures or sells fentanyl or fentanyl-laced drugs.
“Thousands of individuals, including children, have tragically lost their lives to this indiscriminate drug,” Heffley said. “This drug poses a significant risk to our communities, and I believe that this legislation is necessary to not only combat the sale and production of fentanyl on our streets, but to also save the lives of those individuals in the throes of addiction and recovery.”
With full knowledge of the very real and demonstrable risks posed by the drug, many drug dealers will nevertheless mix fentanyl with other street drugs, including cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, Oxycodone and Xanax, to increase potency, thereby promoting addiction and the demand for the drug. Alarmingly, drug users will often be ignorant of the fact that the drug they are about to ingest contains a lethal dosage of fentanyl.
The legislation would create stiffer criminal penalties for any defendant who knowingly or intentionally manufactures or sells fentanyl or fentanyl-laced drugs. Specifically, the bill provides that any individual convicted of manufacturing or selling fentanyl shall be subject to a sentence of imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000. Under current law, individuals convicted of selling or manufacturing fentanyl are subject to a possible sentence of 15 years’ incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.
Last year, there were a reported 5,438 overdose deaths in this Commonwealth – a 6% increase from the prior year. This increase in fatalities can be largely attributed to the rise of the illegal sale and usage of fentanyl, an opiate-based drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. The consumption of a mere 2 milligrams of the powerful drug can prove fatal to a person. Significantly, fentanyl is not only deadly to those who knowingly ingest it as evidenced by the fact that many first responders have suffered overdoses after inadvertently being exposed to the drug.
House Bill 2820
is expected to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
Editor’s Note: The following soundbites accompany this news release, found at the link below, and are as follows:
:01 – Fentanyl is a poison
:28 – What the bill does: increased penalties
1:03 – Relapse is fatal; law enforcement risk exposure
1:46 – Increase in deaths
2:28 – What the bill does: proposed punishments
Representative Doyle Heffley
122nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Melissa Fox
RepHeffley.com / Facebook.com/RepHeffley