Fentanyl is infiltrating Iowa communities, from our major metro areas to our small towns, and itā€™s threatening the lives of our citizens and children.Ā 

The leading cause of overdose deaths in America, fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid thatā€™s 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Sadly, the majority of fentanyl related deaths are accidental because counterfeit prescription pills are being laced with lethal doses.Ā Ā 

While illegal, counterfeit pills are relatively easy to make, market, and distribute. They can be purchased person-to-person, online, and even on social media, making them too easily available to anyone with a smartphone, including young Iowans.Ā Ā 

These pills look like legitimate prescription medication but may contain lethal amounts of fentanyl. Experts say as little as two to three milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly, and according to the DEA, four out of every 10 fake pills can kill. And it only takes one pill to kill.Ā 

Governor Reynolds proposes:Ā 

  • Increasing penalties for manufacturing fentanyl, delivering fentanyl, or possessing with the intent to deliver fentanyl.Ā 

  • Enhancing sentences for fentanyl crimes that cause death or serious injury, or involve minors.Ā 

  • Expanding distribution of medications like naloxone that can reverse opioid overdose.Ā 

Increase Criminal PenaltiesĀ 

The proposal decreases the fentanyl weight for federal penalties allowing more serious charges, longer sentences, and higher fines against individuals with smaller amounts of the drug.Ā 

  • 50 grams of fentanyl and more will now carry prison sentences up to 50 years and a fine up to $1 million.Ā 

  • 5 grams but not more than 50 grams of fentanyl will now carry prison sentences of up to 25 years and a fine up to $100,000.Ā 

  • 5 grams or less of fentanyl will now carry prison sentences of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000.Ā 

Enhanced SentencesĀ 

In certain situations, sentencing terms for fentanyl-related crimes can be doubled or tripled.Ā 

  • If a fentanyl crime results in the death or serious injury of an individual, the sentence is enhanced two or three times the term.Ā 

  • Sentences will be enhanced to twice the term for manufacturing in the presence of a minor or delivering any controlled substance to a minor. Currently, this law only applies to methamphetamine.Ā Ā 

Expand Access to Life-saving MedicationĀ 

Naloxone is a medication used to rapidly reverse or reduce the effects of opioid overdose. More lives can be saved if these injections are readily available to those who can administer them at the right time and place. Iowa can improve access to naloxone by expanding secondary distributors as defined in law to include:Ā 

  • Law enforcement agenciesĀ 

  • EMS programsĀ 

  • Fire departmentsĀ 

  • School districtsĀ 

  • Licensed health care providers, including behavioral health providersĀ 

  • County public health departmentsĀ 

  • Iowa Department of Health and Human ServicesĀ 

In 2016, Governor Reynolds signed a law allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription to Iowans. Iowans can also request naloxone through the University of Iowaā€™s Tele-Naloxone program by visiting www.naloxoneiowa.org.Ā Ā