An extreme plan to stop fentanyl overdose deaths in New Jersey

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used by doctors to treat severe and advanced cancer pain.

It is also used by drug dealers and cartels to increase the effects of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and every other substance you can think of, and it causes a dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths in New Jersey and across the country. .

State Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, is pushing a plan to quell the large amount of fentanyl that is pouring into the Garden State.

“A lot of these drug dealers are mixing marijuana and other drugs with fentanyl so the user doesn’t realize it, but they’re getting fentanyl, I want to make it a first degree felony, this n It’s not like selling someone marijuana,” he said.

A serious repression

Sarlo is sponsoring legislation (no bill number yet) that would make selling, possessing or manufacturing more than 10 grams of fentanyl a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200.00.

His measure also states that selling or possessing any amount of fentanyl up to 10 grams would be a second-degree felony, punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Man in prison hands behind steel cage bars. criminal offender locked in jail.

Rattankun Thongbun

He said it may sound harsh but “it’s such a volatile and deadly drug that those who inject or inhale fentanyl run the risk of immediate death.”

Fentanyl is dangerous even to the touch because it can be absorbed through the skin.

“It’s very deadly, it’s not about drug addiction, it’s about killing someone, no different from pulling out a gun and shooting someone,” he said.

Susan Gibson, the special agent in charge of the New Jersey Drug Enforcement Agency, has warned Garden State residents that as little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl mixed into a drug can literally kill you in seconds.

She said the DEA had now started investigating drug overdose deaths and if they were caused by ingesting fentanyl, the case would not be treated as accidental but as a homicide.

“Those pushing fentanyl on the street is almost like a license to literally kill,” Sarlo said.

He said the Bergen County District Attorney’s Office recently arrested a man in possession of 15 pounds of fentanyl, enough to produce about 3.5 million lethal doses.

More than 3,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2021 in New Jersey, according to the state medical examiner, and law enforcement officials have warned the total could climb further this year.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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