On Sept. 12, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced he would be introducing the bill in a Fox News op-ed that more broadly attacked President Joe Biden for his current response to the “epidemic” that is overdose, and specifically, fentanyl overdose deaths.
The op-ed, as well as articles from websites like Snopes, claim fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between 18 and 45 years old, according to the CDC. However, the Associated Press reported that the CDC cannot conclusively say that is true.
What its data does show is that, in 2021, “overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed 71,000, up 23% from the year before.”
In May, ABC News reported on how fentanyl makes its way to the United States.
“Investigators said Chinese drug suppliers send the ingredients to make fentanyl to cartels in Mexico. After creating the fentanyl, either in raw powder or pill form, the cartels would ship them across the border in trucks, according to investigators,” the article read.
ABC News also found that “last year more than 11,000 pounds of fentanyl made its way into the U.S. and more than half of it came right through the border of Mexico and San Diego, according to investigators.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, co-author of the bill, blamed “a wide-open Southern border,” saying, “The dealers and distributors of this deadly drug must be held accountable, and that’s what we’re fighting to do.
This effort will impose felony murder charges for people who willingly distribute this lethal opioid to unknowing recipients.”
Felony murder statutes allow people to be charged with murder if it occurs when they commit a felony.
Some reform groups, such as The Appeal and The Sentencing Project, have argued against the existence of felony murder.
“These laws impose sentences associated with murder on people who neither intended to kill nor anticipated a death, and even on those who did not participate in the killing,” The Sentencing Project argued.
Fentanyl is also a problem specifically in Indiana.
From April 2020 to April 2021, there were 2,482 reported drug overdoses in the state, according to the CDC. From April 2021 to April 2022, that number rose to 2,765—an 11.4% increase.
“Eighty-five percent of [Indiana’s overdose deaths in 2021] are due to fentanyl,” Douglas Huntsinger, Indiana’s executive director for drug prevention, enforcement and treatment, told Indiana Public Media.
“Fentanyl is killing young Hoosiers and cutting a path of destruction through the Midwest,” said Braun. “If you are peddling this poison you should pay the price.”