Town Board Backs Campaign to Change Drug Laws

Rally in Albany to change drug laws.

The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously last week to support a campaign to change laws to stem the fentanyl epidemic.

In January, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney and other Long Island officials went to Albany to meet with state legislators in support of several bills, including a “death by dealer” change in law that would allow for the imposition of tougher penalties on drug dealers.

Town Councilman Sal Ferro, who introduced the resolution, said, “Fentanyl is doing terrible things. It doesn’t recognize income bracket, race or demographics.”

According to Tierney’s office, Suffolk County reported more than 400 deaths from drug overdoses in 2022, with fentanyl a common factor. Nationwide, more than 110,000 lives were lost to fentanyl  in the same year. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, nationwide, 7 out of every 10 pills sold on the streets are surreptitiously laced with fentanyl.

Assemblyman Keith Brown, R-Northport, cosponsored the “death by dealer” bill.

He said, “Our state has unfortunately been caught in the middle of a deadly fentanyl, opioid and heroin epidemic for far too long. The number of overdose deaths involving an opioid increased a staggering 200 percent from 2010 to 2017, according to the state Department of Health. Fentanyl, which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, is often added to these illicit drugs to increase their potency. This is the harsh reality of the opioid and fentanyl epidemic. To stop this, we must target those who sell illegal controlled substances that caused the death of another person when the seller knew those drugs were likely to kill someone.”

Suffolk County Chief Assistant District Attorney Allen Bode, Assemblyman Steve Stern,  District Attorney Ray Tierney and District Attorney Division Chief Megan O’Donnell.

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