Rep. O’Neill Votes to Make Selling Fentanyl a Felony

Posted on May 17, 2019 by admin


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State Representative Arthur O’Neill (R-69) voted to strengthen state drug laws and make it a felony to sell the synthetic opiate fentanyl in Connecticut.

“Making the sale of fentanyl a felony will be a big step toward eliminating this deadly drug from our communities,” Rep. O’Neill, an introducer of this bill, said. “I’m pleased my colleagues recognize the need to strengthen state drug laws and hold drug dealers accountable.”

According to statistics from the state’s chief medical examiner, fentanyl was present in about 4% of drug overdose deaths in 2012 and more than 75% of drug overdose deaths in 2018.

“The incredible increase in the number of residents dying from this dangerous drug are staggering, and more people in Connecticut die from drug overdoses in one year than the number of Connecticut soldiers who were killed during the entire Vietnam war. ” Rep. O’Neill said.   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic used to reduce pain by depressing the central nervous system and respiratory functions of the user. They estimate fentanyl to be 80 times more potent than morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin. And fentanyl-related deaths are on the rise statewide.

HB 5524 – An Act Increasing the Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl – formally classifies the synthetic opioid fentanyl as a narcotic substance, and further defines the compounds or components of fentanyl as narcotic substances, including those drugs that are chemically equivalent or identical to fentanyl.  Under Connecticut law, the penalties for certain illegal actions involving narcotics are higher than those for certain other non-narcotic controlled substances, including illegally manufacturing, distributing, selling, and prescribing narcotics.