GOP Supports Bill To Make Distributing Fentanyl That Results In Death Felony Murder

Several Republican lawmakers threw their support behind a crackdown effort against fentanyl. The bill would permit the distribution of the deadly drug that causes a person’s death to be punishable as felony murder.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) declared that fentanyl is killing U.S. residents at a record pace and has reached into every community. The proposal, he said, would make possible the highest penalty for drug dealers whose products kill Americans.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid with effects similar to morphine, only exponentially more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the skyrocketing deaths related to fentanyl overdoses continued in 2021. Overall, the U.S. reported 107,622 drug overdose deaths last year, which was an increase of almost 15% from 2020.

That year’s total was a staggering 30% higher than just 2019, and a vast majority of both year’s deaths came from accidental fentanyl overdoses.

Over a dozen Republican senators backed the proposal, and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX).

A felony murder charge carries a life sentence or even the death penalty in some states. It is equivalent to first-degree murder or premediated murder and requires a minimum of life in prison. If convicted, it can also result in the ultimate punishment.

The bill states that whoever is convicted of first degree murder for distributing fentanyl “shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for life.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) argued in a release that killing Americans with fentanyl should be “treated the same as someone pulling the trigger of a gun.” He said that if dealers and cartels distribute this deadly poison, “they will face justice.”

The scourge of fentanyl has resulted in tens of thousands of Americans needlessly losing their lives. The bills introduced by Republican legislators are both timely and justified. Until this problem is tackled in the strongest way possible, it will continue to manifest itself in loss of precious life.