Tommy Wright: We must lock up the killers
Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023
As Speaker Gilbert wrote last week, there is a silent killer terrorizing Virginia, taking an average of 35 lives every week. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid thousands of times more powerful than heroin, is spreading through our Commonwealth mixed with other illegal drugs.
The narcotic is so powerful that only a few milligrams can be fatal. Republicans are committed to ending this scourge. Tuesday is Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day set aside to recognize those lost to this plague and to redouble our efforts to save lives.
On average, five Virginians die from a fentanyl overdose every day. In 2022, fatal drug overdoses took more lives than gun related homicides and car crashes combined. Fentanyl accounts for 12 percent of all drugs seized in Virginia, but for 75% of the deaths, according to the Department of Health.
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Republicans have been working tirelessly to combat this scourge, passing legislation to increase penalties for dealing this deadly drug.
Unfortunately, Democrats killed legislation — which passed in 2019 under a Democratic majority only to be blocked by Governor Northam — that would have held fentanyl dealers accountable for the lives they take with their poison.
Penalties would have increased from a range of 5-to- 40 years up to 20-to-life.
If we want to end the killing, we must lock up the killers.
We must get tough on crime if we are going to stop drugs from taking over Virginia. Virginia is beautiful and home to the best Americans in this country. We cannot control what happens in DC, but we do have a say in the direction we want to take our Commonwealth. States look to Virginia for leadership and its time for us to stand up to drugs and get tough.
DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.