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.

I am proud of our districts efforts over the past few years to address the opioid epidemic, including our Public Safety Departments working in close collaboration with the Waterbury CORE program which focuses on increasing Safe Use—Safe Storage—Safe Disposal of prescription opioids, and community recognition and ability to respond to opioid overdoses. To learn more, click here.

I am proud that the Legislature is taking action to combat our opiate public health crisis and would like to thank my colleagues for unanimously passing the bill.

HB 5524 will now be considered by the Senate.