In an effort to crack down on the growing number of opioid deaths in Connecticut, the members of the Connecticut House of Representatives have unanimously passed House Bill 5524, which stiffens the criminal penalties associated with fentanyl sales. Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, recognizes that, while increasing criminal penalties for fentanyl sales may sound promising on the surface, doing so typically does little to save lives or help addicts get better.
According to the Hartford Courant, increasing criminal penalties has done little to combat the state’s war on drugs, but it does seem to have a disparate impact on minorities, the state’s poor and those struggling with mental illness or addiction. In fact, research shows that increasing incarceration rates for drug offenders does not, in fact, reduce the supply of drugs available to state residents, and it also does not reduce demand for illegal drugs.
So, if increasing criminal penalties for fentanyl sales and other drug crimes does not, in fact, help combat the state’s growing drug problem and restore safety to Connecticut communities, what can? Many believe that, instead of adopting stricter penalties for the state’s drug offenders, the state must do more to address the drug crisis.
For example, expanding access to substance abuse treatment programs, including methadone programs, may help curb the state’s growing drug problem. Helping the state’s homeless find housing solutions is another example of a step the state could take to help combat drug use within state lines. You can find out more about drug offenses by visiting our webpage.