Sen. Kelly, Lawmakers Call for Action to Address Fentanyl Crisis

January 27, 2022

Lawmakers propose increasing penalties for fentanyl sales, supporting schools with access to naloxone, and efforts to raise awareness

HARTFORD – Today, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Deputy Senate Republican Leader Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) were joined by Senator Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader and Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, in calling for action to address the fentanyl crisis in Connecticut.


The lawmakers are calling for increased penalties for fentanyl sales, establishing guidance for school districts that decide to keep naloxone in their schools, providing naloxone to schools, and raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.


In calling for action, the lawmakers referenced the growing rate of deaths associated with fentanyl and the shocking death of a child who ingested fentanyl while in school.


“The opioid epidemic is a public health and public safety crisis in Connecticut,” said Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford).”It is destroying lives and has taken the lives of far too many. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl has caused this crisis to explode even further. Deaths from overdoses, and particularly overdoses from fentanyl, are increasing at alarming rates in our state. Of the 1,374 lives lost to overdose in 2020 in Connecticut, 84% of those deaths involved fentanyl.”


“Illicit fentanyl kills like nothing we have seen before. And it is taking the lives of far too many of our loved ones right here in Connecticut,” said Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme).


“Recent headlines have shocked our state and our nation. The sheer number of lives lost demand strong action. Fentanyl is a deadly poison and it must be treated as such. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 2 milligrams of fentanyl, the size of a few grains of salt, can be a lethal dose,” said Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader. “Someone could take a pill without knowing it contains fentanyl. Or someone could knowingly take fentanyl, but there’s no way of knowing if it contains a lethal dose. The results are deadly. We need more awareness and we need stronger penalties to send a clear and powerful message that this is poison.”


“Under current law, Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues are defined as narcotics, and therefore the law treats all illegal Fentanyl sales the same as any narcotic. But Fentanyl kills at a far greater rate and with far more potency than other narcotics. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It is deadly in even smallest of quantities,” said Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. “Combatting the opioid crisis and the deadly nature of Fentanyl requires a comprehensive approach with continued support for substance abuse treatment, access to lifesaving measures, and strong penalties for the trafficking of such a deadly substance.”


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