Proposed legislation could mean the death penalty on fentanyl dealers

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Congressman Tom Reed held a press conference with law enforcement and city leaders to discuss a proposed legislation that would give harsher punishments to drug dealers selling drugs laced with fentanyl. 

If a user died, under the HELP Act, the fentanyl distributor would face life in prison or the death penalty. 

“Some folks say that’s an archaic and ancient tool,” Reed said. “But I will tell you, when that tool is deployed appropriately, the bad guys will know we mean business. Those distributors killing our youth, our neighbors, our sons, and daughters, will know we will use every tool to make sure they are fully accountable for those actions.” 

Due to the proposed legislation meaning life or death, Congressman Reed said it is meant for the big distributors and not the “middle men.” He defines this as anyone selling 100 grams or more of the deadly drug. 

Opioids are a national epidemic, but those affects are seen locally in Chemung County. Weeden Wetmore, District Attorney of Chemung County shed light on these statistics. 

“Between December of last year and May of this year, we had 39 overdoses, 13 of which resulted in death. between April and may we have had 23 overdoses, 11 of which resulted in death.” 

Congressman Reed said he will bring the proposed legislation to the House in September. 

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