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Fentanyl Traffickers Could Face More Time Under New Bill

Lawmakers say they want to make sure the penalties for fentanyl trafficking fit the nature of the crime.
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Fentanyl Traffickers Could Face More Time Under New Bill

GOP Senate leaders have introduced a bill that would scale up mandatory minimum sentencing for fentanyl trafficking.  

Calling fentanyl a "weapon of mass destruction," U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham said the current sentencing guidelines for the drug are "inadequate." Federal mandatory minimums for fentanyl apply when 40 or more grams are trafficked β€” an amount that could be lethal for thousands of people. The legislation would lower that threshold for mandatory sentencing. It would also support the U.S. Postal Service in stopping shipments of the synthetic opioid. 

The move comes after President Donald Trump announced his intent to implement stricter punishments, including the death penalty, for major drug dealers, something Graham said he intends to explore for fentanyl traffickers.  

This week, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are introducing dozens of opioid-related bills, ranging from improving access to treatment programs to implementing opioid alternatives for pain management. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.