We Must Address the Fentanyl Crisis Now

The fentanyl crisis continues to devastate communities across California and the United States. In 2022, 28,765 pounds of fentanyl were seized in California, enough to kill the entire population of North America – twice. A fatal dose can be as little as two milligrams.

Fentanyl poisoning is the leading cause of death for young adults in the US, surpassing suicides and car accidents. More must be done to deter the sale and trafficking of this deadly drug. 

My colleagues and I have introduced several bills that would help address this dire situation. Sadly, the following bills have all FAILED to pass through the PUBLIC SAFETY committee, only delaying the state’s response to the problem we are facing.

  • SB 44 (Umberg), also known as Alexandra's law, and its companion bill (AB 18, Joe Patterson) in the Assembly, would have required a statement to be read to individuals convicted of drug offenses to deter from further crimes. 

  • SB 62 (Nguyen) would have added fentanyl to the list of controlled substances (currently heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine) which are eligible for an additional prison term (i.e. a sentence enhancement) ranging from 3 to 25 years, based on the volume of the controlled substance.

  • SB 237 (Grove) would have increased criminal penalties for the sale, transport, and importation of fentanyl.

  • SB 325 (Grove) would have imposed an enhancement on sentences for drug sale and transport related offenses involving fentanyl that is designed or packaged in such a way as to resemble food or candy.

It’s clear that legislative leadership needs to adjust its priorities.

We need to pass legislation that holds drug dealers accountable, increases criminal penalties, and gives local law enforcement and agencies the tools they need to keep our communities safe. 

Fortunately, one of my bills is still making its way through the legislative process. 

SB 19 (Seyarto) would establish the California Anti-Fentanyl Abuse Task Force to increase public education and mobilize state and local resources to evaluate the best practices for combating fentanyl.

We cannot let politics ruin our chance of fixing this important issue. We must come together and do whatever it takes to control this dangerous epidemic that has only grown in past years.

As your representative, I will not remain silent on this critical concern for our community, and my colleagues and I will continue the fight to work to keep our communities safe.