Sen. Brad Farrin (R-Somerset) introduced his bill, LD 986, targeting traffickers of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
Farrin, who lost his 26-year-old daughter, Haley, to a drug overdose in 2022, said current efforts to curb the drug epidemic in Maine are not working.
LD 986 aims to increase penalties for those who traffick carfentanil, sufentanil, fentanyl, and any derivative of fentanyl powder by reclassifying the offense as a Class A crime.
[RELATED: Greenbush Resident, Dominican National Arrested in Maine DEA Fentanyl Bust…]
“This manufactured poison is killing a generation,” he said, according to a statement from the Senate Republican Office.
“If we want to get serious about saving lives, we need to reflect that in the way we legislate. When it comes to selling drugs, Maine is not open for business,” he said.
The bill would also stiffen penalties for those who use electronic devices to participate in the trafficking of synthetic opioids, as some other states have done.
[RELATED: Janet Mills and Democrats Softened Maine’s Fentanyl Trafficking Laws…]
Maine has seen a record number of drug-related overdoses and deaths in the past two years, with over 10,100 people suffering a drug overdose in 2022 and 716 suspected or confirmed deaths.
[RELATED: Fentanyl now the leading cause of death for adults ages 18 to 45…]
Farrin emphasized the need for more robust legislation to tackle the fentanyl crisis and said that penalties are just one part of a larger solution requiring statewide collaboration. He has been working with addiction medicine physicians and recovery community center advocates on a companion bill addressing substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and prevention. This legislation will go before the Health and Human Services Committee.