Proposed bill would add mandatory minimums for fentanyl trafficking
Opioids claim tens of thousands of lives each ear, and hundreds in Alabama alone.
“We have a crisis in our state and in our nation right now with this opioid epidemic, and with fentanyl especially,” said District 96 Alabama Rep. Matt Simpson.
While many opioids come into the U.S. through Mexico, fentanyl is more often sourced from China.
“It’s killing our kids. It’s killing everyone,” Simpson said.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids like fentanyl have led to much of the opioid crisis because of it potency.
“It’s something that we really have to take seriously,” Rep. Simpson said.
That’s why Simpson sponsored House Bill 1 in the current Alabama legislative session.
If passed, HB1 would add a mandatory minimum sentence for anyone caught trafficking fentanyl. Similar laws exist for some other drugs, but fentanyl is a newer threat.
“We can’t just sweep this under the rug and just say, ‘Oh well, it’s somebody else’s problem.’ Or ‘Oh, that’s their fault.’ No, we have to do what we can to take the actual traffickers off the street,” Simpson said.
Once in your system, opioids including fentanyl attach to opioid receptors in your brain, cutting off pain signals and relaxing the body. Opioids are commonly prescribed by doctors for pain management after surgeries and were once prescribed on the regular for chronic pain management.
For people who overdose on opioids, naloxone is a lifesaving drug that can knock the drug off brain receptors for up to 90 minutes, meaning a much higher chance of survival.
In March, the Federal Drug Administration approved naloxone to be sold over the counter without a prescription.