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Rep. Zupkus issues statement after Democrats fail to strengthen penalties against drug dealers

Posted on April 20, 2022


HARTFORD – Rep. Lezlye Zupkus, R-Prospect, co-offered an amendment last night to H.B. 5430, which would have changed existing law to allow authorized practitioners to treat patients by dispensing controlled substances, such as methadone, from a mobile unit. It also removed testing strips for fentanyl as being classified as drug paraphernalia and added chiropractic and spinal cord stimulation to the list of nonopioid treatment options that prescribing practitioners must provide to patients when prescribing opioids for more than 12 weeks.

The amendment, which Rep. Zupkus supported and offered, would have allowed law enforcement officers to charge a drug dealer who sells to a customer who later dies from ingesting that substance with second-degree manslaughter. That charge would have carried a one-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, would be classified as a Class C felony, and could have resulted in up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The amendment failed 94 to 53 along party lines, with Republicans voting for it, and Democrats against it.

Rep. Zupkus offered the following statement:

“We had an opportunity last night to enact stronger penalties that would target the people who are distributing this poison into our communities, but the majority party failed to join us to make that commonsense change,” Rep. Zupkus said. “I voted in support of the main bill, which I sincerely hope will reduce the number of people who get addicted in our state, but was disappointed in my Democrat colleagues and their inability to make it tougher on criminals who are causing deaths on a daily basis.”