Southie resident and State Representative Nick Collins is trying to keep our streets a little safer. New legislation enhances ongoing and multifaceted effort to confront the substance addiction epidemic facing Massachusetts. From press release:
BOSTON—Representative Nick Collins joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation criminalizing the trafficking of fentanyl. Drug traffickers frequently combine fentanyl, the most potent opioid available for medical use, with heroin which can create a lethal mix.
Under existing law, drug traffickers can only be charged with manufacturing, dispensing, or possessing fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 percent more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 percent more potent than heroin. Closing this loophole comes at a crucial time as the current opioid crisis is becoming increasingly destructive because individuals using heroin are often unaware that the drug contains fentanyl.
“Combatting the opioid crisis in Massachusetts and supporting those struggling with addiction requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “Criminalizing the fentanyl trafficking is an important part of that equation as we continue our efforts related to treatment and prevention.”
“Over the past few years, we have seen an alarming increase in overdoses from drugs laced with fentanyl,” said Rep. Collins. “As legislators, it is important that we give our law enforcement personnel more options to get this deadly drug off our streets and this bill does just that.”
Specifically, this legislation:
– Sets the threshold of fentanyl trafficking at more than ten grams;
– Includes any derivative or mixture containing fentanyl; and
– Authorizes incarceration in state prison for up to 20 years.
This bill complements unprecedented investments in funding for addiction services and the landmark substance addiction law passed in 2014 which went into effect one week ago. That legislation seeks to set patients on a path to sustainable recovery by both increasing access to care and improving the standard of care. Under the new law, all insurance plans in the Commonwealth will cover acute treatment services, clinical stabilization and medical detox for up to fourteen days.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.