HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new bill is being proposed in Pennsylvania’s legislature that would impose tougher penalties on fentanyl dealers.
State Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) announced plans to introduce “Tyler’s Law” to target drug dealers who peddle fentanyl resulting in a fatal overdose.
Mastriano called the legislation very important and designed to “save lives.”
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic like morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl can be cut, colored, scored, and pressed to be sold as a counterfeit for other drugs. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.
Under Tyler’s Law, an individual who sells or engages in a monetary transaction to distribute fentanyl resulting in a death would face a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence upon conviction. This mandatory minimum penalty would not apply to drug users who share drugs with friends or family members or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.
“They need to be locked up, they’re killing people, all for money” said Mastriano on Monday in front of family members of overdose victims.
Mastriano, who is running for Governor, says the bill is named after a Franklin County 18-year-old who passed away after overdosing on what he thought was Percocet but turned out to be pills laced with fentanyl
“I`m introducing Tyler’s Law to honor the legacy of Tyler Shanafelter, his family, and the other families in Pennsylvania who have lost loved ones to this horrible overdose epidemic. We must send a message to drug dealers that if you kill Pennsylvanians through the sale of fentanyl, you will be spending most of the rest of your life in prison.”
Tyler’s mother Laura spoke on Monday to share her family’s experience, saying her son was “dead wrong” when he thought he purchased Percocet that turned out to be laced with fentanyl.
“When over 100,000 people die from a poison that is a weapon of mass destruction.”
According to Mastriano Pennsylvania is experiencing approximately 4,500 overdose deaths a year, a problem he says is growing.
“This needs to end.”
Mastriano has also introduced a bill that would require law enforcement to report overdose incidents within 72 hours to a “specific network to track this.”