WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) filed the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act of 2019 today to ensure that sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug. This legislation marks a major step toward addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic.
The bill reduces the amount of fentanyl that drug traffickers and dealers must be caught with in order for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply. Under current sentencing guidelines, a trafficker with two grams of fentanyl is treated the same as a trafficker with five grams of heroin even though fentanyl is 50 times deadlier than heroin.
“The opioid crisis kills more than 175 Americans every single day. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues play a huge role in our drug epidemic. All it takes is an amount of fentanyl weighing less than a sprinkle of sugar to kill someone,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our sentencing laws have to reflect the potency of this drug in order for us to get it off the streets.”
“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. It killed nearly 30,000 Americans last year and has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. 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,” said Sen. Cotton.
“Fentanyl is fueling mass suicide,” said Sen. Sasse. “Too many of our friends, family, and neighbors are dying deaths of despair. While families, schools, and churches are on the frontlines, there’s an important role for lawmakers: we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to put fentanyl traffickers behind bars.”
“Fentanyl is deadly, and it is killing Americans every single day,” said Sen. Blackburn. “It’s time the punishment fit the crime for these drug traffickers.”