WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and 12 Senate Republicans introduced a bill to charge illicit fentanyl drug dealers with murder. The Felony Murder for Deadly Fentanyl Distribution Act would add the distribution of fentanyl, resulting in death, to the list of crimes that are eligible to be charged as felony murder.
“Criminals poisoning Americans with fentanyl should be treated the same as other murders,” said Dr. Cassidy. “If drug dealers and cartels push this deadly substance, they deserve to face justice.”
“We need to stop the flow of fentanyl and punish those responsible for poisoning our communities. If the illicit sale of this drug results in death, then the seller should be charged with felony murder. That is a simple, common sense step we can take right now to help turn the tide and protect our communities,’ said Senator Rubio.
Felony murder is equivalent to first-degree, premediated murder and requires a minimum of life and is also eligible for capital punishment if convicted.
Cassidy and Rubio were joined by U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).
Fentanyl remains the leading cause of death among adults ages 18-45. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drug dealers are increasingly targeting children and young people with fentanyl pills made to look like candy.
Last year, Cassidy led a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on the fentanyl crisis, during which he laid out a strategy to combat the surge in fentanyl and overdose deaths. Cassidy also highlighted his HALT Fentanyl Act which would permanently make fentanyl a Schedule I drug.