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The increasing number of deaths due to drug overdoses has two prominent agencies announcing initiatives to combat the rise in heroin usage in the country as well as Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has filed legislation that would add fentanyl to the state’s drug trafficking laws that makes trafficking in fentanyl, an opioid, a crime.  Fentanyl, a legally prescribed narcotic, is being added to heroin making it more potent thus contributing to the recent increase in overdoses in Massachusetts.

The Act Relative to the Trafficking of Fentanyl would increase the term of imprisonment to not more than twenty years if one was to traffic in fentanyl, or any derivative thereof, by knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or by bringing into the commonwealth a net weight of more than 10 grams.

The Office of National Drug Control has established the Heroin Response Strategy which combines the resources of among five regional programs that have a “High Intensity Drug trafficking Areas” including Massachusetts.

“The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program helps federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations, support prevention efforts and improve public health and safety,” said Director Botticelli.  “The new Heroin Response Strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue. This Administration will continue to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.” Office of National Control Policy [ONDCP]

 

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