Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced last week a bill they said is designed to increase penalties for fentanyl traffickers intentionally misrepresenting the drug to unknowing customers.
The Zero Tolerance for Deceptive Fentanyl Trafficking Act would ensure dealers who intentionally misrepresent their product as a non-fentanyl substance would face a 20-year sentence or a life sentence for those with prior felony convictions. Dealers who intentionally included fentanyl to cause death would become death penalty eligible. The legislation would also make permanent the Drug Enforcement Administration’s current but temporary scheduling of synthetic fentanyl drugs as controlled substances.
“Drug dealers who peddle fentanyl know just how deadly it is, but the worst of them lace other drugs with it and then sell their poison to unknowing customers,” Cotton said. “By tricking their victims into buying much more potent drugs than expected, these dealers often kill their customers. We shouldn’t have any tolerance for such a fatal act of deception.”
Blackburn said what fentanyl has done to Tennessee residents, families, and communities is devastating, and those responsible for distributing the drugs must face serious penalties.
“Addressing the opioid crisis requires a multifaceted approach from officials at the local, state, and national levels,” she said. “I am pleased to partner with Sens. Cotton and Loeffler to combat the tragic reality of opioid addiction and to hold drug traffickers accountable for their dangerous conduct.”