Ala. House approves mandatory minimum sentences for fentanyl

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:32 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The war on fentanyl continues in the Alabama Statehouse Representatives unanimously passed a bill to create mandatory minimum sentences for possession of fentanyl.

The Alabama District Attorney’s Association worked closely with representative Matt Simpson, R-Baldwin County, on the legislation.

“The fentanyl we were dealing with really early was an opioid derivative and usually produced by pharmaceutical companies. But now all the fentanyl we say in Alabama is synthetic,” said executive director Barry Matson.

In the bill that unanimously passed in the House, one gram of fentanyl is a minimum of three years in jail, and up to eight grams means life in prison.

“If Alabama is on the leading forefront of the way to kind of go about this. I’m all about it,” said Simpson.

Representatives agree that the bill is needed for their constituents.

“We don’t know how many of our family members’ lives could be saved if we can stop some of this trafficking,” said Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Clarke County.

The bill will also help district attorneys prosecute fentanyl traffickers. Matson says they need to punish the person behind the deadly drug.

“Someone is overdosing right now,” he says.

To address drug users, Rep. Simpson says money from a state opioid settlement will be used on education and drug prevention throughout the state.

The bill will now head to a Senate committee for debate before possible final passage.

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