Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Files Legislation To Crack Down On Fentanyl Traffickers

Published 12:17 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Kennedy, representing Louisiana, was one of four senators to file a bill Wednesday ensuring sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug.

The “Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act of 2019” marks a major step toward addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic by reducing the amount of fentanyl that drug traffickers and dealers must be caught with in order for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply.

Under current sentencing guidelines, a trafficker with two grams of fentanyl is treated the same as a trafficker with five grams of heroin, even though fentanyl is 50 times deadlier than heroin.

“The opioid crisis kills more than 175 Americans every single day,” Kennedy said. “Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues play a huge role in our drug epidemic. All it takes is an amount of fentanyl weighing less than a sprinkle of sugar to kill someone. Our sentencing laws have to reflect the potency of this drug in order for us to get it off the streets.”

Drug overdose deaths continue to be a significant occurrence in St. John Parish with the majority of cases involving illegal opiate drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, according to St. John Parish Coroner Dr. Christy A. Montegut.

There were nine and seven overdose deaths from opiates in 2017 and 2018, respectively, according to Montegut. He documented an uptick of deaths from crystal meth in both years.

Overall illegal drug overdoses accounted for 11 deaths in 2018, he said.

St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre told L’OBSERVATEUR earlier this year that there have been multiple people incarcerated, released in St. John Parish who have later overdosed.

He said the St. John Sheriff’s Office is more focused on going after suppliers, rather than users.