TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - With bill sponsor Jim Boyd pointing to an opioid "crisis" in Florida, the House on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would increase criminal penalties related to the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl.
The bill (HB 477), in part, would add fentanyl to state drug-trafficking laws. During comments on the House floor, Boyd, R-Bradenton, said the legislation would place the "worst of the worst behind bars."
A similar bill (SB 150), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a statement Thursday that said the House bill would help the state "combat this deadly crisis" with opioids.
"Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than morphine that is being cut with other drugs and sold as heroin," Bondi said in the statement. "Taking fentanyl just one time can kill --- and that is why I want to thank each member of the Florida House for voting to give prosecutors the tools to seek stronger sentences against traffickers selling fentanyl and other deadly drugs in our state."