Bill proposes felony for dealing fentanyl, one dad says it's "manslaughter"

7 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, February 20 2019 Feb 20, 2019 Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:06:00 PM CST February 20, 2019 in News
By: Monica Harkins, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Even though people are dying from fentanyl overdoses in Missouri, there is no law that prosecutes someone who deals it.

The Missouri House of Representatives perfected a bill on the floor Wednesday that would make trafficking fentanyl a felony.

Jim Haynie's son, Scott, overdosed on fentanyl in September 2018.

He said he didn't know there wasn't a law in place.

"It ought to be brought up for manslaughter," Haynie said.

The bill would make dealing fentanyl a Class A felony or Class B felony, depending on the amount. That is the same class felony as manslaughter. 

The language of the bill is mostly in order, but the House has one more vote to solidify the bill before it goes to the Senate, said the bill's sponsor Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon.

Schroer said the national attention on fentanyl is only going to help this bill get passed.

Schroer sponsored a similar bill last year that didn't make it through the Senate.

Haynie said yes, his son struggled with addiction, but it's partially the dealer's fault, too. 

"A father's biggest fear is the death of his son," he said.

Scott's sister, Angelee Geisler works as an ER nurse practitioner and said when she found out about her brother she didn't realize he was already gone.

"I assumed that he was being taken by ambulance and they were going to give him Narcan and he was going to be revived and he was going to be okay," she said.

Geisler also said she didn't know there isn't a law that punishes those dealing fentanyl.

"Fentanyl is a drug, yes we give it in a hospital setting, in controlled setting but I never realized it was such a big deal [on the streets]," she said.

Geisler said she wishes she could tell her brother she loved him and hopes that others understand the seriousness of education about drugs, like fentanyl.

During the committee hearing, lawmakers added on date rape drugs, Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), also know as roofies, and Gamma-Hydroxybutyric (GHB) to the bill to further prosecute people distributing drugs in Missouri.

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