Like Causes?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 1354

Should More Drug Traffickers Face Mandatory Minimums for Fentanyl and Similar Heroin Substitutes?

Argument in favor

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid that is significantly more powerful than heroin and morphine, and as a result is linked to alarming amounts of fatal overdoses. Strengthening mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of trafficking fentanyl will help cut the supply of this drug on U.S. streets.

Steve 's Opinion
···
08/08/2017
Only if the pharmaceutical companies who are responsible for the opioid epidemic, are considered drug traffickers.
Like (37)
Follow
Share
Cade's Opinion
···
08/08/2017
Users and addicts should be getting treatment and put into recovery programs (versus jail or prison on taxpayer money, only to still be addicted and worse off when released), but drug traffickers, dealers, sellers- the ones killing our youth purely for money- should be locked up for a long time. They're essentially committing mass murder.
Like (8)
Follow
Share
···
08/08/2017
Yes this should be the law. I am a recovering opioid addict with 3 years and 1 week clean. I lived in the world of oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, etc. for years. Fentanyl traditionally by itself is not used by addicts, it is much more widely possessed by dealers and traffickers. Also, you need to realize just how much even 2/5/20 grams of fentanyl really is. If someone is carrying (without a prescription) 5 or more grams of fentanyl, then I'd bet my left hand that they either have a significant amount of heroin to mix it with OR they're planning on buying heroin to cut with the fentanyl. I lost a very close friend to fentanyl cut heroin and there is no reason for ANYONE to possess it.
Like (6)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

As bad as fentanyl may be, it doesn’t justify increasing subjecting more drug traffickers to mandatory minimum sentences, which drive up incarceration costs and delay the rehabilitation of criminals. The U.S. should focus on rehabilitating drug addicts and stop fighting the war on drugs with the criminal justice system.

TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
···
08/08/2017
End mandatory minimums. End the drug wars. Drugs have won. Stop taxing me in order to fill the prisons with nonviolent "criminals" and to militarize the police. Prohibition didn't work the first time and it hasn't worked the second time. Learn the lesson and move on!
Like (93)
Follow
Share
Zachary's Opinion
···
08/07/2017
The war on drugs doesn't work. The US needs to stop imprisoning our people (specifically people of color) and start helping and rehabilitating people who need help. Stop locking up our citizens and start investing in them by showing them compassion and understanding.
Like (77)
Follow
Share
Paul's Opinion
···
08/07/2017
Didn't we learn our lesson on mandatory minimum sentencing?
Like (39)
Follow
Share

What is House Bill H.R. 1354?

This bill would modify the drug quantity thresholds that trigger a mandatory minimum prison sentence for a person who manufactures, distributes, or possesses fentanyl (a synthetic form of heroin) with the intent distribute. The fentanyl quantity triggering a mandatory minimum would be reduced from 400 to 20 grams, while the threshold for the fentanyl equivalent would decrease from 100 to 5 grams. The mandatory minimum sentence would be 10 years for a first-time offender and 20 years for repeat offenders.

Additionally, the mandatory minimum thresholds for low-level offenders would be reduced from 40 to 2 grams for fentanyl, and from 10 to 0.5 grams for the fentanyl equivalent. Low-level offenders would face a 5 or 10 year sentence depending on whether an individual is a first-time or repeat offender, respectively.

Impact

Fentanyl traffickers; and the criminal justice system.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1354

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthThis bill currently has the support of two bipartisan cosponsors in the House, Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Tim Ryan (R-OH).

When this legislation was introduced in the last Congress, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association endorsed it, saying:

“Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid drug that is 50 times more potent than Heroin and 100 times more powerful than Morphine. Opiates contributed to 23,492 deaths by drug overdoses in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reports that Heroin related deaths have increased by 340% since 2007.
Drug traffickers are known to mix Fentanyl with Heroin resulting in an alarming increase of fatal overdoses. In the interest of justice and public safety, FLEOA supports amending the Controlled Substances Act to ensure the law appropriately reflects the potency of this drug.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Amsterdam New York via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act of 2017

Official Title

To increase the penalties for fentanyl trafficking.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 2nd, 2017
    Only if the pharmaceutical companies who are responsible for the opioid epidemic, are considered drug traffickers.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    End mandatory minimums. End the drug wars. Drugs have won. Stop taxing me in order to fill the prisons with nonviolent "criminals" and to militarize the police. Prohibition didn't work the first time and it hasn't worked the second time. Learn the lesson and move on!
    Like (93)
    Follow
    Share
    The war on drugs doesn't work. The US needs to stop imprisoning our people (specifically people of color) and start helping and rehabilitating people who need help. Stop locking up our citizens and start investing in them by showing them compassion and understanding.
    Like (77)
    Follow
    Share
    Didn't we learn our lesson on mandatory minimum sentencing?
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    I don't believe that mandatory minimum sentences will deter this epidemic. There are some real public health options here that should be listened to
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    Portugal has had a successful drug addiction program in place for more than a decade. The first thing they did was recognize that criminalizing drug addicts forces them underground for fear of imprisonment. If addiction is a disease, argues Dr. Goulão, one of the doctors on the task force that came up with this program, then why arrest sick people? The Portuguese task force operated under the assumption that the addiction epidemic was medical in nature, not an issue of law and order. They had an epidemic because they had been under such autocratic and repressive rule for so long, that when freedom came, the people went crazy with their new found liberties. Unfortunately they were naive, which resulted in alcoholism and drug addiction becoming widespread. Their program has been studied closely and could be copied here in the US. In fact, there was a movement toward such a program underfoot until Jeff Sessions came to power. The law and order approach has been tried and failed miserably. The ego-minded love to flex their muscles to get that little ego high by punishing, condemning and judging others, but it lasts such a short time and then they have to find someone else to persecute. There is no understanding of how to help others who are suffering, compassion to or desire to help them or the heart to do so. We need an Attorney General who is educated on the latest techniques, open-minded about what works elsewhere, and most importantly is not motivated by putting dollars into private prison systems. No, we do not need to imprison more people with drug problems, we need the will to help them! If Portugal can do it with great success, so can we.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    "Mandatory minimum" is another way of saying that the legislature decides all cases, rather than let a judge and jury decide anything.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill is designed to generate more income for the private prison system. We incarnate more people per-capita in this country than any other industrialized country in the world, because of manipulative laws like this that targets lower level criminals. CCA, the largest private jail corporation in the country with $1.9 billion in annual revenue and $221 billion in profit in 2016, lobbied for this bill. Did they lobby because they were concerned with a social epidemic? No. They lobbied to generate more profit for their investors. Congress knows this, so the real question is what motivated these politicians to lock up more low-level offenders, while they systematically continue to ignore the fact that these private prison corporations have an abysmal if not non-existent rehabilitation record. Don't get me started on how this bill intentionally and disproportionately targets minorities, not unlike like the marijuana laws currently on the books. And Sessions wants to make those laws more severe too. Follow the private prison money trail and i can all but guarantee it will lead back to Sessions himself.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    Let judges do the judging.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Users and addicts should be getting treatment and put into recovery programs (versus jail or prison on taxpayer money, only to still be addicted and worse off when released), but drug traffickers, dealers, sellers- the ones killing our youth purely for money- should be locked up for a long time. They're essentially committing mass murder.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Since our epidemic begins with prescription drugs perhaps we should begin with the big pharma who spend millions advertising drugs on television.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes this should be the law. I am a recovering opioid addict with 3 years and 1 week clean. I lived in the world of oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, etc. for years. Fentanyl traditionally by itself is not used by addicts, it is much more widely possessed by dealers and traffickers. Also, you need to realize just how much even 2/5/20 grams of fentanyl really is. If someone is carrying (without a prescription) 5 or more grams of fentanyl, then I'd bet my left hand that they either have a significant amount of heroin to mix it with OR they're planning on buying heroin to cut with the fentanyl. I lost a very close friend to fentanyl cut heroin and there is no reason for ANYONE to possess it.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Mandatory minimums are an ineffective way to control the sale and use of illegal drugs. I think we need more treatment facilities and less people in prison!
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Mandatory minimums don't work to deter dealers from selling, it just ruins more lives at the taxpayers expense. The war on drugs has resulted in the US having the largest prison population in the world with little focus on rehabilitation or assistance when finally re-entering society. Also, long sentences for non violent offenders with no rehabilitation creates violent offenders upon re-entering society. That just perpetuates the cycle of poverty and illegal activity. We need a drastic overhaul of the way we handle poor non violent criminals in this country. Not more of the same failed policies that feed the private for profit prison industry!
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Seriously?? We haven't caught on that the war on drugs causes far more harm than healing??
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    In idea mandatory minimums ensure a somewhat similar treatment is given to all criminals. In practice all they do is fill prisons.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Mandatory sentences have done more harm than good in the drug war so far and adding more mandatory sentencing won't make anything better. Judges should have the discretion they have in sentencing other crimes to make the punishments appropriate to the offense.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    The war on drugs is a failure, costing us millions of tax dollars; throwing money away. Criminalizing everything is not the solution.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Not in privately owned prisons, for sure.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Mandatory minimum sentencing is a slippery slope that has proven to be ineffective and economically and socially harmful to communities.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE