Bill Approved by Senate to Increase Penalties on Drug Dealers in Fentanyl Overdoses

HARRISBURG – Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) today voted for a bill approved by the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 35-14 to strengthen penalties against drug dealers who sell drugs laced with fentanyl that lead to an overdose death.


“We need to take a strong stand against the fentanyl epidemic, which has killed far too many Pennsylvanians,” said Argall.


The current penalties under the Drug Delivery Resulting in Death Statute allow drug dealers who poison victims with fentanyl to be back on the streets in two years or less.


Statistics from 2017-2021 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing show the average sentence for criminals convicted under the statute is less than five years. Many criminals convicted under the statute received no jail time.


Senate Bill 235, “Tyler’s Law,” would create a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $15,000 fine for drug dealers convicted of distributing or selling drugs that result in a death.


The bill is named for Tyler Shanafelter of central Pennsylvania, who in 2020 purchased what he thought were Percocet pills, not knowing they were laced with lethal amounts of fentanyl.


There were more than 100,000 fentanyl- and opioid-related deaths nationally in 2021, representing a 15% increase compared to 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives.




CONTACT: Jim Brugger, 717-787-2637

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