There is a silent assassin roaming the streets of California and targeting our children and young adults. This assassin does not see race, ethnicity, religion, party affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or income — it is an equal-opportunity, lethal killer. The synthetic opioid fentanyl has murdered thousands of Californians a year.
This executioner comes mainly from China and is schooled by the Mexican drug cartels; it is so powerful that it can kill instantly with a dose as small as two grains of sand; it operates under clever disguises so you can never see it before it strikes; and it can replicate itself in a lab a million times over.
The spread of fentanyl is a crisis, and public safety policy in our state has failed to keep up. Since 2018, fentanyl overdose deaths in California have nearly quadrupled. Fentanyl accounts for more than a third of overdose deaths. We cannot allow fentanyl dealers to continue to spread their poison in our communities. We need solutions.
A good place to start would have been the passage of Senate Bill 350, which would have required notice to convicted fentanyl dealers that if they commit that crime again and someone dies, they could be charged with voluntary manslaughter or murder. State Senate Democrats killed SB 350 in March, arguing that any sentencing enhancement is necessarily wrong because it may increase incarceration for convicted fentanyl dealers.