Sacramento is Ignoring the Fentanyl Epidemic

Drug abuse and overdose deaths, especially involving fentanyl, are on the rise in our communities.

California’s youth are falling victim to drug dealers who prey on their vulnerability and curiosity.

In 2020 alone, California experienced nearly 4,000 deaths related to fentanyl overdose, and in 2021, fentanyl overdose became recognized as the leading cause of death of Americans aged 18 to 45.

We need to pass legislation that holds drug dealers accountable, increases criminal penalties, and gives local law enforcement and agencies the tools they need to keep our communities safe.

Unfortunately not everyone in Sacramento agrees.

In fact, most bills attempting to address these issues barely see the light of day.

My bill, AB 1673, would have established the California Fentanyl Abuse Task Force to increase public education and mobilize state and local resources to evaluate the best practices for combatting fentanyl abuse across California. It was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and never reached the floor for a vote.

Here are a few more examples:

  • AB 1750 (Davies): Establishes some minimum standards for court-ordered drug education or treatment programs and require, with regard to adult defendants who receive probation for a drug crime, that all defendants enroll in and successful complete these programs. 
    Held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

  • AB 1955 (Nguyen): Increases penalties for illegal large-scale possession for sale or sale of fentanyl. 
    Died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee

  • AB 2246 (Petrie-Norris): Increases penalties for fentanyl sales around schools and playgrounds and increases the penalty for sales on social media.
    Died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee

  • SB 75 (Bates): Aligns fentanyl on the same level as cocaine and heroin by imposing penalty enhancements based on the weight an individual possesses for sale or distribution. 
    Died in the Senate Public Safety Committee

  • SB 350 (Melendez): Requires a court to issue an advisory to individuals convicted of selling or distributing controlled substances including fentanyl, to serve as a warning that if their actions result in another person’s death, they could be charged with murder. 
    Died in the Senate Public Safety Committee

  • SB 1060 (Bates): Imposes an additional term upon a person convicted of the possession of a substance containing fentanyl if the substance exceeds a specified weight. 
    Died in the Senate Public Safety Committee

What's even worse is that bills like SB 57, which would permit certain communities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Areas to operate “safe injection sites,” allowing people to use harmful and illegal drugs under supervision, have passed through both the Senate and Assembly.

Yes, you read that correctly: supervised injection sites.

You can watch my Floor Speech on SB 57 HERE

It’s clear that legislative leadership needs to adjust its priorities.

As your representative, I will not remain silent on this critical concern for our community, and my colleagues and I will continue the fight to work to keep our communities safe and keep criminals off our streets.

Thank you for this opportunity to be of service.