Booker Fights Move To Raise Minimum Sentence For Fentanyl

NJTV News | June 10, 2016 | Health Care
Senator says an amendment by Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire would not stop drug use and would lead to imprisonment of addicts

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) says that expanding mandatory minimum sentences for fentanyl is not the way to solve the problem of opioid addiction in New Jersey and other states.

Booker is fighting an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) that would cut to 2 grams the amount of fentanyl that would trigger a mandatory minimum sentence. Ayotte says that would mean longer sentences for dealers who cut heroin with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times as potent as heroin, but Booker argues it could mean long sentences for addicts who support their habits by distributing drugs.

John Brogan, chief recovery specialist for treatment management at CARES in Morris County, told NJTV that reducing the amount would trap people suffering from the disease of drug addiction, leaving them facing five-year prison sentences. Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey, said the mandatory minimums enacted in the 1980s have done little to curb the new opioid epidemic, which has hit both New Jersey and New Hampshire hard.

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