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New bill to stiffen penalties for fentanyl trafficking

YORK, Pa. - State Senator Mike Regan announcing new legislation to stiffen penalties for drug dealers pushing fentanyl on our streets.

The York County District Attorney calls this proposal a "common sense" mandatory minimum sentencing provision. He says fentanyl is more than 100 times powerful than heroin by itself and it's killing a lot of people.

In 2013 there were no heroin related deaths with fentanyl in the mixture in York County. This year, 55 of the 59 heroin overdose deaths had fentanyl in the mixture.

"It's terrible how this has gotten. But these drug dealers need to know. If you are selling  heroin with fentanyl in it, you are going to go to jail," Senator Mike Regan, said.

But Regan said this new bill isn't meant to target addicts.

"This is targeting people who are selling these drugs, poisoning our kids, poisoning our families, and ruining our communities," Regan said.

"It also gives us the power to take someone who is an addict in the throws of addiction and also get them into state intermediate punishment, and get them into treatment where otherwise they wouldn't do so on their own," Dave Sunday, York County District Attorney, said.

They said the only way they're going to break this cycle is by removing drug dealers from the streets, and hope this new bill will be another tool.

"This legislation, by itself, is not the cure. But it is an absolutely critical component to the weapons that we have to keep this community safe and stop this epidemic," Sunday said.

Sunday said police officers have saved more than 400 lives from heroin overdoses in York County since they started carrying Narcan voluntarily in 2015. The bill is currently awaiting referral to committee in the senate.