Tennessee Senator Marsha Backburn and three other legislators have introduced a new act to increase sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is fifty times deadlier than heroin.
The Ending Fentanyl Crisis Act of 2019 reduces the minimum amount of fentanyl needed to convict a trafficker.
“The opioid crisis kills more than 175 Americans every single day All it takes is an amount of fentanyl weighing less than a sprinkle of sugar to kill someone,” said Senator John Kennedy who helped worked on the bill. “Our sentencing laws have to reflect the potency of this drug in order for us to get it off the streets.”
In the state of Tennessee, deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl caused the largest increase in opioid-related deaths since 2012, according to the National Introduce on Drug Abuse. The TBI adds that many drugs are often laced with fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is But while the epidemic has spiraled, our drug laws have been stuck in the past. This bill will make sure, when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking, the punishment fits the crime,” Senator Tom Cotton, another writer of the bill, said.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 80% of crimes in Tennessee are connected to drugs.