Anyone caught trafficking the powerful opioid fentanyl in Massachusetts will face up to 20 years in state prison, under a new law that took effect Tuesday.
In November, the legislature passed and Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill to make trafficking the synthetic opiate a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Fentanyl is “estimated to be 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. Distributing and possessing the synthetic drug without a prescription is already illegal, but the new crime of trafficking will punish offenders with up to 20 years in prison for trafficking more than 10 grams. Attorney General Maura Healey pushed for the new law, citing several cases of fentanyl being mixed with heroin to provide an often fatal boost in potency.
“More and more, law enforcement is finding heroin laced with this powerful synthetic opioid or being sold in its pure form,” Maura Healey said. “This new law will help us combat trafficking and help keep communities safe.”