Connecticut lawmakers roll out plan to crack down on fentanyl crisis
Connecticut lawmakers are out with a new plan to crack down on the deadly drug fentanyl after two recent deaths connected to the drug.
In December, 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Field was found dead after a Bumble date. Earlier this month in Hartford, a 13-year-old died of a drug overdose at school.
The common element is fentanyl, a deadly synthetic drug.
Connecticut saw more than 1,300 overdose deaths in 2020 with 84% of them involving fentanyl.
Connecticut lawmakers are now rolling out plans to address the crisis.
The Republican plan calls for tougher penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for fentanyl.
"To those folks who say, 'Oh you Republicans, you only say, increase penalties and mandatory minimums.' But in this instance, this is a deadly serious situation," said state Sen. John Kissel.
The GOP also wants to expand Narcan in schools. The lifesaving medication can resuscitate an overdose victim.
But Hartford's mayor says he doesn't think that should be the focal point of the crisis.
"I'm not sure we are doing ourselves a society service by focusing on Narcan so much and missing the chance to focus on the prevention efforts," Mayor Luke Bronin said.
Liberation House's Harm Reduction Van is part of that prevention.
"We give them the test strip to test their drugs before they use it, so they know if there's fentanyl in it," said Franklin McClain.
The vans also provide clean pipes, syringes and Narcan.
"I don't know anybody's path. All I need to be in position when they're ready to go on that path is just to be here," said McClain.
The goal is to prevent people from going down a deadly path.
Republicans want to target large-scale dealers, but it is extremely difficult to stop the supply of fentanyl since authorities say most of it comes from China and Mexico.