SACRAMENTO – The parent organization Victims of Illicit Drugs (VOID), who speaks on behalf of their loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves, is asking parents across California to sign a petition asking the legislature to increase penalties to deter traffickers from poisoning kids with fentanyl. The petition was launched at a press conference hosted by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris who is authoring Assembly Bill 2246 and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, the sponsor of the legislation seeking to appropriately align penalties for fentanyl trafficking and cut this deadly drug off at its source (PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO).
Jaime Puerta, the President of VOID said, “Far too many children, exactly like my 16 year old son Daniel, are being deceived to death by these nefarious actors who knowingly and willingly peddle this poison disguised as pharmaceutical grade trademarked pills to unsuspecting children and they’re getting away with Murder. AB2246 addresses the need in keeping these Murderers accountable for their actions.”
Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, AB 2246 author said, “Here in California, more than 10 Californians die because of fentanyl every single day. But remember that these are not just numbers and statistics. These are real human lives that have been lost. I have introduced AB 2246 to target traffickers who are responsible for the fentanyl crisis. We must ensure that those profiting from fentanyl know that there are consequences to poisoning our children, and know that the punishment will fit the crime.”
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said, “AB 2246 is the right solution to help California address the fentanyl crisis. Those profiting from our children by illicitly selling this deadly substance must be held accountable and face a consequence commiserate with their crimes. This legislation will make it clear that Californians are committed to keeping fentanyl out of our communities.”
Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares also spoke to the crisis, “Fentanyl is cutting short the lives of our children and devastating the communities that are left behind to pick up the pieces. As the Orange County Department of Education continues its work with local school districts to expand mental health supports and services for students across the county, it is time that we also hold responsible those who are putting this deadly drug into the hands of our children.”
Two disturbing trends have dramatically escalated the dangers of fentanyl: the deceptive use of fentanyl in counterfeit pills and the use of social media to traffic illicit substances to young people.
AB 2246 proposes to address this crisis in several ways. It establishes 20 years to life as the penalty for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. Currently, possession of fentanyl is a mere misdemeanor offense and requires just a citation and subsequent release. AB 2246 proposes to establish possession of 2 or more grams of fentanyl as a felony. Current law also establishes special penalties for selling drugs like heroin and cocaine in the vicinity of young people, such as around schools or playgrounds. This bill proposes to add fentanyl to that list. Fourth, to combat the increase in fentanyl distribution on social media, AB 2246 enhances the penalty for illegally selling fentanyl online. Finally, this bill properly aligns fentanyl analogs as a schedule I drug. Fentanyl analogs are illicitly manufactured chemical replicas of fentanyl. Importantly, as actual fentanyl does have medical uses, this bill does not change its standing as a schedule II drug.
VOID | Victims Of Illicit Drugs (stopthevoid.org) also highlighted a documentary produced by Dominic Tierno and Christine Wood that is being used nationwide by the United State Drug Enforcement Administration, Sheriff’s Departments, as well as Federal and private entities to educate the school children and the public about the dangers of fentanyl, watch it online in English and in Spanish.
AB 2246 will be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee in April.