Minimum sentences set for fentanyl traffickers
The state watched Thursday as Gov. Kay Ivey signed House Bill 1 into law. HB1 sets a minimum penalty for people caught trafficking fentanyl.
Laws like HB1 have existed for other drugs, but with fentanyl being such a new drug, lawmakers scrambled to find a way to stop its spread.
“Fentanyl was the only drug in Alabama where there were no mandatory minimums for time served for trafficking,” said state Rep. Matt Simpson, who introduced HB1.
According to Alabama Public Health, someone dies from a fentanyl overdose every 7 seconds.
“If you’re trafficking in heroin, if you’re trafficking in methamphetamines, if you’re trafficking cocaine, or even if you’re trafficking in marijuana, you have a mandatory minimum that you’re required to serve as part of your trafficking conviction,” Simpson said.
Simpson said that an overwhelming amount of fentanyl came across the nation’s southern border where is was carried over by cartels.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning it was manufactured in a lab to resemble the natural opiates that the human body creates on it’s own.
“Fentanyl is different. Fentanyl is one pill can kill you. You don’t have to have a long history of use,” Simpson said. “I found that there was a gap here in coverage in law in Alabama about trafficking fentanyl, and I wanted to make sure that we were able to imprison the people who were bringing it into our communities.”
The minimum sentences for trafficking fentanyl are now:
- Three years for amount between 1 and 2 grams of fentanyl
- 10 years for amounts between 2 and 4 grams of fentanyl
- 25 years for amounts between 4 and 8 grams of fentanyl
- Life in prison for amounts exceeding 8 grams