Mastrofrancesco Votes for Stricter Laws on Fentanyl Dealers
Will give law enforcement more teeth
HARTFORD- A new proposal to amend the definition of “narcotic substance” to add fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives was strongly supported by State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80) in the House of Representatives as a way to get tougher on fentanyl dealers and manufacturers.
“Connecticut is in the midst of an opioid epidemic and we must show these dealers we are serious. If you sell fentanyl you will go to prison for a long time,” said Rep. Mastrofrancesco. “This legislation will permit for stricter penalties for dealing and manufacturing fentanyl substances which will reduce the use of opioids in Connecticut, and possibly save lives.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths
A Hartford man recently pleaded guilty in court to selling, possessing and distributing of fentanyl that killed a Southington man two years ago.
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 Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, there were 1,033 overdose deaths in Connecticut in 2017. This is a 13% increase from the 917 overdose deaths in 2016, which was already up 26% from 2015. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, there were 677 fentanyl related deaths in 2017 alone. There has been an alarming increase in fentanyl related deaths over the years; with 479 fentanyl related deaths in 2016 and 188 in 2015.
The legislation, HB-5524, An Act Increasing the Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl received unanimous support in the House of Representatives and now moves to the State Senate for a debate and vote.