Connecticut senator, senate Republican lawmakers call for action to address fentanyl crisis

Connecticut state Senate Republican Leader, and Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), and Connecticut Deputy Senate Republican Leader Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), were recently joined by Connecticut state Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), Connecticut Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader, and Connecticut state Sen., and ranking member of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), at a recent press conference, in calling for action to address the current fentanyl crisis in Connecticut.

Connecticut state Senate Republican Leader, and Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), and Connecticut Deputy Senate Republican Leader Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), were recently joined by Connecticut state Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield), Connecticut Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader, and Connecticut state Sen., and ranking member of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), at a recent press conference, in calling for action to address the current fentanyl crisis in Connecticut.

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Lawmakers are proposing increasing penalties for fentanyl narcotic sales, supporting schools with access to the narcotic naloxone, and efforts to raise awareness about their matters.

State Senate Republican Leader Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, and Deputy Senate Republican Leader Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, were recently joined by fellow Republican Senators Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, and John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, at a news conference last week calling for action to address the fentanyl crisis in Connecticut.

The lawmakers are calling for increased penalties for fentanyl sales, establishing guidance for school districts that decide to keep naloxone in their schools, providing naloxone to schools, and raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

In calling for action, the lawmakers referenced the growing rate of deaths associated with fentanyl, and the shocking death of a child who ingested fentanyl while in school.

“The opioid epidemic is a public health and public safety crisis in Connecticut,” Kelly said. “It is destroying lives and has taken the lives of far too many.

“Illicitly manufactured fentanyl has caused this crisis to explode even further,” Kelly added. “Deaths from overdoses, and particularly overdoses from fentanyl, are increasing at alarming rates in our state. Of the 1,374 lives lost to overdose in 2020 in Connecticut, 84 percent of those deaths involved fentanyl.”

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration via 2 milligrams of fentanyl, the size of a few grains of salt, can be a lethal dose,” said Miner said.

“Someone could take a pill without knowing it contains fentanyl. Or someone could knowingly take fentanyl, but there’s no way of knowing if it contains a lethal dose,” Miner added. “The results are deadly. We need more awareness and we need stronger penalties to send a clear and powerful message that this is poison.”

Kissel said, under current law, Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues are defined as narcotics, and therefore the law treats all illegal Fentanyl sales the same as any narcotic. But Fentanyl kills at a far greater rate and with far more potency than other narcotics, he said.

“Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It is deadly in even smallest of quantities,” Kissel said. “Combatting the opioid crisis and the deadly nature of Fentanyl requires a comprehensive approach with continued support for substance abuse treatment, access to lifesaving measures, and strong penalties for the trafficking of such a deadly substance.”