The Missouri House sent a bill to the Senate this week to increase penalties for trafficking a dangerous drug, the use of which can easily result in overdoses. The House voted to make it a class-B felony to knowingly distribute, make, or attempt to distribute or make, more than 10 milligrams of fentanyl or its derivatives. This would carry a penalty of five to 15 years in prison. Making or distributing 20 or more milligrams would be a class-A felony, carrying a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.
Law enforcement advocates have told lawmakers that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is being trafficked frequently in Missouri – particularly illegally made – and is often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, often resulting very easily in overdose deaths. The sponsor of the bill said fentanyl trafficking has continued to increase exponentially in the past year. He believes increased penalties will help law enforcement get to those who are making and selling fentanyl.
The legislation would also increase the penalties for trafficking one gram or more of Rohypnol or any amount of GHB, both of which are often used in sex crimes.