There’s no doubt that fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs around. Even a tiny amount of this opioid can seriously harm or kill a person. Last year, over 2,000 deaths in Texas were caused by fentanyl.
With the number of fentanyl deaths on the rise, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbot signed a new law this summer that makes the consequences of a conviction for a fentanyl-related offense even harsher. Gov. Abbot noted that fentanyl is “the No. 1 killer of Americans ages 18-45.”
The new law allows someone arrested for supplying fentanyl (including another drug or item laced with fentanyl) to someone who subsequently died from it to be charged with murder and subject to a minimum 15-year sentence. The law also enhances the criminal penalties for manufacturing and delivering fentanyl.
Further, when someone is determined to have died as a result of taking fentanyl, their cause of death must be listed as fentanyl poisoning or fentanyl toxicity rather than as an overdose, as was previously the case. The law took effect on Sept. 1 of this year.
Other new fentanyl-related laws
The governor also signed several bills into law to provide resources and education across the state to help combat fentanyl deaths. These includes a law that requires public schools to teach sixth through twelfth graders about the dangers of fentanyl and one that allows the distribution of “opioid antagonists” like NARCAN that can provide emergency treatment for overdoses to be distributed to colleges and universities across the state.
If you’re facing any kind of charge related to fentanyl, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences. Getting experienced legal guidance as soon as possible can help you protect your rights and present your case.