MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- South Carolina lawmakers are pushing legislation that creates a criminal charge for trafficking fentanyl.
Right now, there is no statute for trafficking fentanyl. The Horry County solicitor said someone could be charged with possession or possession to distribute, but this bill sponsored by local Representative Russell Fry (R- Surfside Beach) aims to change that.
It would add the offense trafficking fentanyl which makes four or more grams of fentanyl a felony.
For a first offense, the bill proposes jail time of up to 20 years without the possibility of parole. The second offense jumps to 30 years.
Fentanyl is a painkiller considered to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine and is often mixed with drugs to increase their potency.
Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said in 2018, 33 people died from fentanyl. He doesn’t have numbers for this year, but is waiting for 30 toxicology reports to come in from SLED.
“Whether you have a gram or five pounds, it’s treated the same, so this is a good tool for law enforcement to use. They can put people behind bars that have too much of this substance and are killing people in our communities,” said Rep. Fry.
The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration.
To read the full legislation click here.