SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Brian Maienschein introduced legislation to help California take action to stop drug traffickers from contributing to the fentanyl epidemic.
Fentanyl overdoses have spiked across the nation in recent years. In California, over 5,700 fentanyl-related deaths were reported in 2021 alone. According to the California Department of Public Health, fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. An alarming increase in counterfeit pills and other illicit substances being sold on the drug trafficking market have been laced with a fatal amount of fentanyl, leading to thousands of deaths and serious injuries.
Assembly Bill 367 will provide stronger criminal penalties for individuals who sell or otherwise furnish controlled substances, such as fentanyl, that result in great bodily injury or death.
“Fentanyl has had devastating effects in San Diego County and throughout the state, and the data shows us that action to address this epidemic is critically overdue,” said Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. “My bill would help California hold drug dealers accountable for the destruction and trauma they cause by knowingly distributing this deadly substance.”
Last year, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an executive order calling for bold action by state and federal lawmakers to help the region and the state address the fentanyl emergency. Assemblymember Maienschein has partnered with Mayor Gloria on AB 367 to take the necessary steps to address this crisis in San Diego County and throughout California.
“The nationwide proliferation of illicitly manufactured fentanyl is a deadly crisis that claimed more than 800 lives in San Diego County in 2021 alone – and the death toll continues to climb,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “We need action at every level of government, and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein is stepping up with bold legislation that I’m proud to sponsor. AB 367 will crack down on predatory dealers of a dangerous poison that’s complicating our efforts to address homelessness and fueling a crisis of addiction, mental illness, and overdose across our region and the nation.”
AB 367 is also supported by San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan who has championed fentanyl overdose awareness and action throughout the region, as well as the San Diego Police Department.
“This bill gives a measure of dignity to the suffering of the thousands who were inflicted with great bodily injury or death due to drug dealers selling fentanyl,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “This proposed law allows our prosecutors to hold those who are causing this devastation accountable for their actions. Current state law treats a seller of drugs who does not result in injury the same as a fentanyl seller that results in the person becoming paralyzed or dying and that is not justice. I fully support this bill and thank Assemblymember Maienschein for helping us fight to save lives.”
“Law enforcement needs help from the legislature in updating our laws to meet the needs of our communities,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “We must ensure that when crimes are being committed, including the predatory actions of fentanyl dealers who have little regard for whether their actions lead to loss of life, there are real consequences so we can stem the tide of rising drug-induced deaths. Combatting the drug overdose crisis from all levels is what it will take to save lives. Thank you to Assemblymember Brian Maienschein for enhancing our ability to hold criminals accountable with AB 367.”
AB 367 will be heard in policy committees later this spring and will move on to the Assembly floor this summer.