When Fentanyl Kills A User, Reed Says The Trafficker Should Face The Death Penalty

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) has re-introduced a bill that toughens penalties for people convicted of trafficking the synthetic opioid fentanyl. 

Reed wants traffickers to face the death penalty when the drugs they sell kill a user. He re-introduced a bill that adds the options of capital punishment and life imprisonment to existing drug laws.

“This is not something to target the users,” Reed said, “the addicts that are addicted to heroin and related substances but really the cartels, the traffickers.”

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

FILE – In this June 6, 2017 file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington Va. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The measure comes in response to recent drug busts in New York State which included large amounts of fentanyl. Reed first proposed the tougher penalties in 2016 and again in 2017.

Users sometimes buy drugs without knowing they contain fentanyl. That combination of fentanyl and heroin is one cause of heroin overdose deaths.

The bill refers to the drug alone or mixed with heroin. The Centers for Disease Control reports an increase in overdose deaths resulting from the mixture of fentanyl with heroin or cocaine.