COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today announced the passage of legislation which he sponsored to ensure that Ohio's drug abuse laws appropriately reflect the potency of fentanyl-related substances and address their growing prevalence in overdose deaths.
 
"The alarming number of recent fentanyl related deaths is a serious concern," said LaRose. "This legislation was crafted to punish traffickers while ensuring treatment for addicts."
 
Fentanyl, a drug typically prescribed in clinical settings, is used as a powerful synthetic opiate to treat or manage pain after surgery. In some instances, the drug is prescribed to treat patients with chronic pain who are tolerant of other opiates. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
 
The number of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased again in 2015, driven by a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, according to a recent report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio have skyrocketed from 84 in 2013, to 503 in 2014 and rose to 1,155 in 2015.

“Fentanyl and carfentanil are killing Ohioans in record numbers. It’s not an overstatement to call it an epidemic. This stuff is lethal, deadly, and our constituents want us to address this scourge on our communities," LaRose added. 
 
Senator LaRose's legislation targets individuals trafficking fentanyl related substances. Individuals selling fentanyl will face tougher punishments. This legislation would lower the amount of fentanyl needed to receive higher-level felony convictions that carry longer sentences. It also provides a balance by not imprisoning those suffering from drug addiction.

Offenders charged with the possession of smaller amounts of the lethal substance will have the option to undergo drug treatment at the time of sentencing. These changes specify that when a fentanyl related drug conviction is connected to a homicide conviction, the prison time for each conviction will be consecutive, adding the amount of prison time for offenders who cause death involving fentanyl.
 
The bill also harmonizes state law with federal law by adding lisdexamfetamine to the Ohio schedule of controlled substances. Lisdexamfetamine is used to treat ADHD and hyperactivity and presents a high risk of abuse, especially in juveniles.

Click here to see Senator Frank LaRose deliver remarks urging his colleagues' support for the bill on the floor of the Ohio Senate.
 
Senate Bill 237 now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

 
 
 
  
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