Posted on May 17, 2019 by jpheasant
HARTFORD – State Representative Robin Green (R-55) supported a bill in the House of Representatives that when implemented, would create tougher penalties for those who manufacture, distribute or sell the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Rep. Green, who is a co-sponsor of the bill said, “fentanyl use has become increasingly more prevalent over the past few years and anything we can do as a legislative body to strengthen our current laws to fight its manufacture, sale and distribution is good policy.”
This update to state statutes would remove fentanyl from the synthetic drug category, a drug created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients, and instead place it into the same classification as heroin. Under current Connecticut state law, fentanyl carries a lesser criminal penalty than heroin.
Under current law, a person convicted for a first offense of selling narcotics may be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, fined up to $50,000, or both. In contrast, a person convicted for a first offense of selling non-narcotic controlled substances may be sentenced to up to seven years in prison, fined up to $25,000, or both.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. In 2018, more than 700 deaths in Connecticut were reported as a result of fentanyl. The number of accidental drug intoxication related deaths that involve fentanyl has increased 5,000 percent since 2012.
HB-5524 now awaits action in the Senate.