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Our Opinion: Increase penalties for deadly drugs

Our Opinion: Increase penalties for deadly drugs

February 22nd, 2019 in Opinion

We’re pleased to see the Missouri House appears poised to support a bill that would make it a felony to possess or deal fentanyl or date-rape drugs.

The House gave first-round approval to the bill in a voice vote Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

O’Fallon Republican Rep. Nick Schroer’s bill would make it a felony to traffic fentanyl and derivatives such as carfentanil. Penalties range from three years to life in prison, the AP said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. It was developed for cancer patients to manage pain, but has become infamous as a deadly recreational drug.

In recent years, it has been added to heroin to increase its potency, uvnbeknownst to heroin users. Because of this, it often causes overdoses and, sometimes, fatalities.

Now, the drug is being sold on the streets by itself. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said ingesting a dose as small as .25 mg can be fatal. It’s also highly addictive. These factors put together make overdoses frequent.

The drug accounts for almost one third of all overdoses, and the number of fentanyl overdoses has drastically increased over just the past few years, according to Psychology Today.

The bill also would make it a felony to possess or traffic GHB, a date-rape drug, and the drug commonly known as Rohypnol.

The drug is not approved for medical use in the United States.

GHB, similarly, also is considered a date-rape drug, or a “club drug,” that depresses the central nervous system. Despite its bad reputation for abuse, it is being studied as a promising drug in lower doses for some medical conditions.

Lawmakers may need to spell out what constitutes GHB and some of the other drugs in the bill.

Different recipes for GHB, for example, can be found on the internet and contain products that most people wouldn’t think about ingesting: paint strippers, superglue remover, rust removers, and various cleaning agents.

The measure needs another vote of approval in the House to move to the Senate.

We encourage the House to iron out details of the bill, then pass it.

Hopefully, the Senate will follow suit.

News Tribune