HARTFORD – On Tuesday, May 14th, State Representatives Vincent Candelora (R-86), Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) and Sean Scanlon (D-98) joined their fellow colleagues in the House of Representative in unanimously voting in favor of H.B. 5524, An Act Increasing the Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl.
H.B. 5524 would change the definition of narcotic substance to include fentanyl in the same category as heroin. As the law is currently written, fentanyl is listed as a synthetic drug, which is a lesser penalty.
“This bill strengthens penalties for dealing fentanyl, and I am proud to have supported it,” said Rep. Candelora. “As opioid and fentanyl-related deaths continue to plague Connecticut, we must act now and do whatever it takes to stop this epidemic. I hope that the Senate will join us in passing this legislation. We simply cannot allow those who are manufacturing or distributing this deadly drug to continue to ruin lives – this bill sends a very clear message that if you engage in this activity, then you will pay the price behind bars.”
“I am proud to have co-sponsored this legislation to combat the opioid and fentanyl crisis that has wreaked havoc in communities across Connecticut. This bill was passed with bipartisan support in the House, and even though there is still more work that needs to be done to tackle the crisis, this is a good starting point for creating stricter penalties. It’s critical that the Senate pass this bill now,” Rep. Kokoruda said.
“760 of the 1,017 Connecticut residents who died of an overdose in 2018 died from a fentanyl overdose. Across Connecticut and the United States, fentanyl has now supplanted heroin as the leading cause of death for people under age 50 and we should be holding those who sell fentanyl criminally accountable for their role in this deadly crisis in the same way we would if they were selling heroin,” said Rep. Scanlon.
Data from the Chief State Medical Examiner’s Office shows a rise in fentanyl-related deaths from 2015-2018. In 2018, 760 of the 1,017 deaths related to opioids contained a form of fentanyl. In 2015, 189 of 729 deaths related to opioids contained a form of fentanyl.
H.B. 5524 will be placed on the Senate calendar where it will await a vote.