House Passes Bill to Tackle Opioid Epidemic

May 15, 2019

Yesterday not only did the Legislature take a step forward in moving Connecticut towards renewable energy, but we also passed legislation to address the opioid epidemic.

The House of Representatives passed HB 5524, An Act Increasing the Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl. The bill amends the definition of narcotic substances to classify fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives as a narcotic, thus, increasing the penalty for possession and related crimes.

According to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, there were 1,038 overdose deaths in Connecticut in 2017. In nearly two-thirds of those deaths, some trace of fentanyl was found in the victim's system. Currently, fentanyl is the leading cause of drug-overdose fatalities, making it our priority to take immediate legislative action.

As a member of the board of the Heroin Education to Resist Opiates (HERO) Project in Bethel, I have seen the devastation and tragedy that result from the opioid epidemic. The HERO Project brings awareness to this critical issue in the greater Danbury area. But we cannot ask our communities to fight this terrible epidemic alone.

I am proud to have co-sponsored a bill that will protect our communities from opiate use. I would like to thank my legislative colleagues for recognizing our state's public health crisis and unanimously passing the bill.

HB 5524 will now be considered by the Senate.