Bullhead City, AZ – Representative Paul Gosar, DDS (AZ-04) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 8228, the Death Penalty for Dealing Fentanyl Act, legislation that would punish a defendant with the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of selling or distributing fentanyl.
“In March 2022, I conducted a roundtable discussion in Goodyear, Arizona about the fentanyl crisis and our open border. Great law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Lamb, attended, and we all heard the poignant testimony from the families of children who were poisoned to death by fentanyl.
One of the many deeply troubling consequences of Joe Biden’s open border policies is the deadly flow of fentanyl across the southern border. Since Biden assumed office in January 2021, more than 1,000,000 pounds of illegal drugs have been seized, including 7,700 pounds of fentanyl in just the first five months of 2022. The overwhelming majority of fentanyl is smuggled across the border from Mexico.
Earlier this month, law enforcement officials in Mexico found an illicit drug facility with a pill press used to manufacture fentanyl pills in the border town of San Luis Rio Colorado, across from Yuma, Arizona. The drug cartels make counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl but look like Xanax, Adderall or other legal drugs.
Drug overdoses have hit an all-time high, as more than 105,000 people died last year from drug poisoning. Deaths caused by fentanyl poisoning is now the leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 18 and 45 years old.
Fentanyl is so lethal that some states use it for executions. According to Reuters, “in 2017, Nebraska and Nevada announced they would use fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine, in new multi-drug execution protocols.”
For some perspective, in FY 2020, the federal government spent $39.7 billion dollars fighting the war on drugs, the largest amount ever. Despite this effort, drug use and drug deaths have increased rapidly. This is because the border is open and the Biden regime is welcoming this result.
More Americans have died in the last 23 years of drug poisoning than in all combat losses combined since 1775:
- Total number of U.S. deaths in World War 2: 406,000
- Total number of U.S. deaths in the Korean War: 40,000
- Total number of U.S. deaths in the Vietnam War: 58,000
- Total number of U.S. deaths over 20 years in the War Against Terror (Iraq and Afghanistan, including contractors): 14,000
- Total number of U.S. soldiers killed in battle in all conflicts since 1775: 651,000
- Total number of drug poisoning deaths in the U.S. since 1999: 932,000
Instead of reducing prison sentences for drug offenders, it is long past time that those responsible for manufacturing or knowingly distributing fentanyl pay a heavy price.
In 2008, Barack Obama stated, “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes.” The current bill is consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedence, which only allows the death penalty if the victim of the crime died. See Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008).
Currently, 33 countries have the death penalty for drug dealers, some not requiring the death of the victim. In Taiwan, visitors landing at the Taipei Airport will see this sign:
In Singapore, visitors are given the following pamphlet and warning about the death penalty for drug dealing:
Does the death penalty for drug dealers who cause death work? Unequivocally yes. According to Our World in Data, researchers noted that drug deaths in the United States averaged 22.8 per 100,000 people in 2019 (it is higher now), whereas the countries with the death penalty for drug dealers averaged below two deaths per 100,000, and in some cases, like Indonesia, averaged .5 deaths per 100,000 in 2019.
This bill could result in an almost complete elimination of drug poisoning deaths, based on the Indonesian results, and potentially save 100,000 American lives every year.
These drugs are killing our loved ones and plaguing communities all across America.
We must get tough on those criminals that are contributing to this drug crisis. My legislation would punish anyone who knowingly traffics fentanyl with the death penalty or life in prison,” concluded Congressman Gosar.
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb added: “Every day, in communities and homes across this country, Americans are being poisoned by Fentanyl. These poisonings are happening to women, men, teenagers, babies and American families…our families! This has become the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18-45 and it has to be stopped. Those drug dealers who are selling the Fentanyl to our loved ones must be held accountable. I support Representative Paul Gosar’s Federal bill to make the death penalty an option for punishment of drug dealers who sell the poison which results in the loss of life.”
Arizona State Representative Leo Biasiucci stated: “Congressman Gosar has taken the step in the right direction with H.R. 8228. Although I do believe that we have a lot of work to do in the area of criminal justice reform, we are still a nation of law and order. Fentanyl has destroyed the lives of millions of Americans. Until we make the punishment severe enough for those involved in the Fentanyl drug trade, things will only get worse. I am proud of Congressman Gosar for introducing this bill, and I hope that others in Congress will understand the importance of this legislation.”
Arizona attorney Rodney Glassman added: "Fentanyl is a deadly drug that tears our communities apart. We must stand up to the cartels and traffickers to stop this life-taking substance. I applaud Congressman Gosar's efforts in eradicating Fentanyl and holding those who profit off the deaths of Americans accountable."
Former President Donald Trump, during a recent speech, also urged the death penalty for drug dealers remarking: “If you look at countries throughout the word, the only ones that don’t have a drug problem are those that institute the death penalty for drug dealers.”
Fentanyl-related deaths doubled in 30 states between 2019 and 2021, according to an analysis of U.S. government data by the opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl. The synthetic opioid can be deadly even in very small amounts, and other drugs, including heroin, meth and marijuana, can be laced with the dangerous drug. Mexico and China are the primary sources for the flow of fentanyl into the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
H.R. 8228 would amend Part D of the Controlled Substance Act by adding any person who knowingly distributes, possesses with the intents to distribute, or manufactures fentanyl shall, if death results, be punished by death or imprisonment for life.