Florida Institutes Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl Possession

Establishes mandatory minimum sentences for possession of certain amounts of fentanyl

June 19, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Wednesday a bill pushed by two Southwest Florida lawmakers that cracks down on fentanyl abuse.

The legislation, HB 477, sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, establishes mandatory minimum sentences for possession of certain amounts of fentanyl -- a powerful synthetic opioid -- and its many derivatives.

The legislation establishes mandatory minimum sentences of at least three years in jail for possession of between four and 14 grams of fentanyl or its derivatives, at least 15 years for possession of between 14 and 28 grams and at least 25 years for possession of more than 28 grams.

The mandatory minimum sentences have been controversial, with the Senate originally voting to strip them from the bill. But they were added back in after lobbying from Attorney General Pam Bondi and others, and the bill narrowly cleared the Senate 20-18.

"The heroin and fentanyl epidemic is destroying lives and families," Boyd said. "I am grateful the governor signed this bill that sends notice to the dealers of this poison that when caught they will go to jail. We will not stop until we find and prosecute you to the fullest extent of this law."

Criminal justice reform advocates say mandatory minimums do not offer judges enough flexibility and can result in overly harsh sentences. But supporters of the legislation argue they are needed because fentanyl is such a dangerous drug.

Often mixed with heroin, fentanyl can be extremely deadly. Overdose deaths related to the drug have spiked in Florida in recent years, with Southwest Florida a particular hot spot.

Manatee and Sarasota counties were the top two communities in the state for fentanyl-caused deaths per capita in 2015, according to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. The drug killed 111 people that year in the medical examiner's district that includes Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

Fentanyl caused 705 deaths across Florida in 2015 and was found in the system of another 206 overdose victims who died. The drug continues to present a major health crisis, with the number of deaths increasing in the first half of 2016.

Scott noted that he signed an executive order last month declaring a public health emergency in the state, allowing Florida access to more than $27 million in federal funding from the Health and Human Services Opioid State Targeted Response Grant.

"I'm proud to sign this important piece of legislation today to help fight this national epidemic which has taken the lives of too many Floridians," Scott said, thanking Boyd, Steube and Bondi for their work on the bill. "This legislation provides tools for law enforcement and first responders to save lives."

In a news release from Scott, Bondi called the legislation her top priority in this spring's legislative session "because it gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools we need to combat the trafficking of fentanyl and save lives."

Steube said, "For too many years, the opioid epidemic has devastated families across the state and this legislation is a major step in our battle against this deadly epidemic."

(c)2017 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.

Tribune News Service |
...

Florida Institutes Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl Possession

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Wednesday a bill pushed by two Southwest Florida lawmakers that cracks down on fentanyl abuse.
Rate this blog entry:
Former N.S. Mountie ordered to stand trial in thef...
DNA from thousands of Cuyahoga County felony arres...

Related Posts

Blotter - Latest News

News By Region

Keywords

stolen gons stolen drugs statute of limitations STOLEN CASH West Coast trooper arrested sexual assault task force storage bunker untestes rape kits Vancouver BC stealing evidence Washington State Patrol crime lab theft of evidence stolen cash Untested Sexual Kits sheriffs employee gets jail state chips unaccounted drugs Sergeant Arrested state prison returned evidence Thursday stealing cash Trial at Riak state government stolne guns untested sexual kit steal drugs sex crime Year Williams sheriff arrested week tampered envelopes skunky aroma wafted stealing heroin selling guns Standards tampering with police records stealing bills stealing guns strange evidence Untest rape kits sentence to jail show seized property work unwanted medications South Dakota Highway Patrolman stealing drug stolen cannabis technician arrested Untested rape kit stealing money St testing guns sentence to prison SAKs sexual assault kit stolen methamphetamine sheriffs department stealing drugs Suicide serial rapist stolen money untest rape kit taking marijuana seized guns stealing drug evidence tapes edited United Kingdom undersheriff stealing gungs stolen drug from evidence years of neglect stored evidence stealing narcotics stealing cocaine theft conviction stored as evidence Theft sexual assault cases trooper sentenced Wichita Police Department stealing pistols stolen gun sexual assault kits stolen cocaine tape withholding evidence theft of drugs stolen marijuana Wrongful conviction sergeant charged untestted sexual assault kits shelves untested rape kit seized money sloppy evidence control Untested rape kits Sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights State trooper accused sexual assault evidence tampered drugs stolen OxyContin sheriff untested rape kits Sheriff pleads guilty unit Sheriff Arrested trial tampering with evidence Thursday.Charles Holifield tampered evidence sexual assault Storage unaccouted guns security camera footage Sexual assault kit stealing funs wrongful conviction Ventura County sheriff stolen jewelry Transient property Wattier Signed Out Evidence Stolen pills woochy poochy storage practices Wrongful Conviction settlement urn tampering with public record Texas Forensic Science Commission theft of money stolen guns steal money stolen evidence steal evidnece state Division Tulare Police side door stolen ammunition State Agency Evidence Jobs unsolved murder State/Province UNTESTED RAPE KITS stolen meth Via URL Browse Media Upload threw away evidence untested sexual assault evidence

Search IAPE