Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that has contributed greatly to the opioid crisis, particularly because it can be mixed with other drugs and lead to overdose deaths. Senate Bill 1 is a bill aimed at fentanyl dealers that will increase prison terms for those found in violation of the law. Why did Ohio lawmakers create the bill, and what will it do to curtail the spread of the drug?
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl abuse is a very real and dangerous problem in Ohio. The drug is a narcotic analgesic and sedative that has effects that mimic those of heroin, though it can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It increases the levels of dopamine in a person’s body. Dopamine makes people feel pleasure, relaxation, and euphoria. Fentanyl is used as a prescription medication for those with severe chronic or acute pain. Unfortunately, like other opioids, it is highly addictive. It is often mixed with street drugs such as heroin, and this can lead to overdose deaths due to the potency of the fentanyl in the mix. It is easy to make in a lab, which is one reason that it is used on the street.
According to Governing, there were “5,134 drug overdose deaths in Ohio last year, an increase of 770 or 17.6 percent.” While there are multiple efforts occurring to work against overdose deaths, these deaths are still increasing. Efforts include opioid medication take-back programs and naloxone access and education. They now include a focus on legal means to curtail fentanyl dealers as well.
How Could Senate Bill 1 Change the Situation?
In the summer of 2018, Senate Bill 1 was signed in Ohio. According to Governing, this bill “increases prison sentences for drug offenses involving fentanyl-related compounds, with those convicted potentially facing more felony time for trafficking, possession, and funding of trafficking.” Specifically, those convicted as major offenders will have additional prison terms of up to eight years. Smaller offenses such as that of permitting drug abuse through fentanyl will increase to up to a year in prison, rather than a maximum of six months. The bill also targets those who are funding drug trafficking.
While there are efforts to divert those convicted of use and possession of drugs into recovery rather than the prison system, this bill takes aim at those who deal in fentanyl, hoping to stop the drugs at the source through the deterrent effect of higher prison sentences and the imprisonment of dealers who will no longer be on the street selling fentanyl.
Get Help Now for Substance Use Disorder
At The Recovery Village, we are proud to help you move toward a sober future. We are here to give you the Ohio addiction treatment resources that you need. If you are struggling with fentanyl misuse or another drug misuse, we can help you move away from the drug with medical assistance. Talk with us about our intensive inpatient and outpatient programs and about our sober living and aftercare support. Learn about admission today.