Pennsylvania Lawmakers Push for Stronger Penalties for Fentanyl Distribution

Bag of fact pills

Northampton County’s Fake Is Real fentanyl awareness campaign continues to educate and inform the public about the deadly fentanyl crisis facing the community. However, with some help from state senators in Harrisburg, new proposed legislation could spur even greater awareness and more importantly, help prevent youth from obtaining these drugs.

That’s according to proponents of Senate Bill 1030. The legislation, introduced earlier this year, would require judges to impose a minimum sentence of 20 years to anyone over age 18 who sells or gives the drug to a minor and the penalty could be up to double that amount, according to the bill.

This bill will be similar to legislation recently signed into law in Florida that increases penalties and in the Commonwealth, provides for a Pennsylvania Public Safety Sentence on those who sell, traffic, or manufacture fentanyl if a minor is involved, according to the PA Senate website. Further, this legislation will establish a Pennsylvania Public Safety Sentence of no more than 40 years.

In addition, an article posted on 21WFMJ explains that the bill has broad bipartisan support. Given the fact that children ages 10 and younger are overdosing, legislators believe more aggressive sentencing can deter usage and hopefully, overdoses. Moreover, lawmakers cite local cases of children as young as 10 ingesting fentanyl thinking it was something else, and unfortunately, dying as a result. Lawmakers say they hope the bill will pass and be sent to the House of Representatives for approval.

Actions such as these show what’s possible when legislators come together to craft a bill that could bring a stronger response, something that’s sorely needed to curb the deadly spread of fentanyl in our community and across Pennsylvania.

In 2022, Pennsylvania had 5,158 drug overdose deaths, according to data from the Office of Drug Surveillance and Misuse Prevention. Of those deaths, 88.4% were opioid-related and 78.8% involved fentanyl. Clearly, stiffer penalties, coupled with a strong education program and outreach effort, could stem the tide of this deadly crisis.

In Search of More Information?

You can visit our resource center to learn more about the fentanyl epidemic and have quick and easy access to a variety of sources that can solve what you're looking for.