State Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty praised the passage of legislation on Tuesday, May 14, that will create tougher penalties for the illegal manufacturing, distributing or selling of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. "We need to get tough on those selling and distributing fentanyl," said Perillo. "Fentanyl is killing more people than any other drug and if an individual is selling or distributing this deadly substance they should be locked up for a long time.""Letting fentanyl dealers off with a slap on the wrist is an insult to the victims and families who have lost a loved one," said McGorty. "We need to pass this legislation and I hope my colleagues in the Senate pass this and the governor signs it into law."The bill would change the definition of narcotic substance to include fentanyl the same category as heroin. As the law is currently written, fentanyl is listed as a synthetic drug, which is a lesser penalty. In 2016, the Derby Police Department stopped a tractor-trailer on Route 34. After searching the tractor-trailer, the police discovered a large amount of fentanyl estimated to be worth $1.5 million. The driver was recently only sentenced to 30 months in prison.Data from the Chief State Medical Examiner's Office shows an increase in deaths related to fentanyl from 2015-2018. In 2018, 760 of the 1,017 deaths related to opioids contained a form of fentanyl. In 2015, 189 of 729 deaths related to opioids contained a form of fentanyl.The bill now awaits action in the Senate.