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Villapudua’s Effort to Hold Fentanyl Traffickers Accountable Approved by Legislature

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly gave its final stamp of approval on AB 701 (Villapudua) this morning to start holding traffickers of fentanyl accountable for the destruction they have caused.

“Our families have faced unimaginable grief over recent years as the number of deaths related to fentanyl have skyrocketed,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton). “I am grateful for the support from my colleagues on this issue so that we may start holding those who are responsible for this grief accountable for their actions.”

Over the course of a recent 12-month period, fentanyl was responsible for nearly 6,000 deaths and 86 percent of all opioid-related overdoses. It is also known to be 50 times more potent than heroin, leading to higher rates of addiction and accidental overdoses. Despite all of this, current sentencing law is much more lenient on traffickers of fentanyl when compared to traffickers of heroin and cocaine.

AB 701 fixes this discrepancy in sentencing law by adding fentanyl to the list of controlled substances – which currently includes heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine – for which stiffer penalties may be levied upon those who were found to be in possession of a kilogram or more of the controlled substance. By targeting quantities of a kilogram or more, this law has been a useful tool to go after the large-scale dealers and traffickers rather than users or small-scale dealers.

The bill passed with strong bipartisan support in a showing of unity from the Legislature and House Leaderships on this issue. It now awaits a signature from the Governor to become law.