The Texas Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow state prosecutors to charge fentanyl dealers with murder.
Senate Bill 645, introduced by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), increases the penalty for producing or distributing fentanyl to a third-degree felony and the penalty for lethal overdoses as a result of production or distribution of fentanyl to a second-degree felony.
It also changes the classification of drug overdoses to poisonings.
The bill passed through the Texas Senate unanimously, underscoring bipartisan support for one of Governor Greg Abbott’s legislative priorities.
The governor celebrated the bill’s passage online with a tweet, writing, “Here we go! You kill Texans with fentanyl. You get charged with murder.”
Combating cross-border fentanyl trafficking has been a key priority for the governor during the 2023 legislative session.
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) provided a statement to The Dallas Express explaining his support for the bill:
“One pill can kill. Fentanyl dealers know it, or they will when they face murder charges for passing out deadly drugs in Texas.”
Some critics disputed the efficacy of such measures in fighting the effects of dangerous drugs like fentanyl, however.
RedState and Newsweek columnist Jeff Charles pushed back on the law, repeatedly decrying the use of police to fight drugs on Twitter: “Making drugs illegal is the root cause of many crimes. Using the threat of physical violence to control what people choose to consume is the epitome of wrong.”
Still, the bipartisan support and unanimous passage of SB 645 suggests a broad consensus on the crisis and the means to address it.
The CDC estimates that 1,662 Texans died due as a result of a fentanyl overdose in fiscal year 2021. As The Dallas Express previously reported, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million lethal doses of fentanyl in 2022 — more than enough to kill every American.
The Dallas Express reached out to the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department for comment on the bill and the fentanyl crisis in Dallas. The department said that it was unsure of the number of fentanyl-linked deaths in 2022 and that it does not keep records of them.
Whether it is a dealer, a Pharma company, a corporation, or a government entity and officials, the individuals responsible for pushing substances which lead to injury or death should be held accountable.
Jeff Charles is acting the FOOL. The fact is that IF we executed Drug Dealers within weeks of arrest when there was no question as to their guilt, we would create TWO differences:
Why they just don’t make the charge MURDER ONE. Actively distributing drugs that are known to be lethal and for profit meets the definition of murder for profit, and that is in itself first degree murder.
The problem is that corporations do this DAILY and are fined. Corporate officers need tot and trial when they cause deaths for profit.
Getting thru the Senate is a piece of cake. Who’s going to kill it in the House?