Source: WBRZ By: Chris Nakamoto
BATON ROUGE- Two bills that aim to criminalize those dealing fentanyl are sailing through the legislature and, if passed, would create stiffer penalties for those caught selling the deadly poison.
"When you look at the impact it has on our citizens right now, it's so deadly and serious," State Representative John Stefanski said. "If you're 18 to 45 right now, you are most likely to die and that should scare everybody right now. I think we need to be going after the fentanyl epidemic with the level of aggression that it's killing our citizens."
Stefanski is the author of House Bill 90 which will increase the penalties if you are caught with a gram of fentanyl to a life sentence without parole. He's also the co-author on another bill that would create a more tiered approach for those caught dealing.
"It's killing our citizens in droves," Stefanski said. "It's infiltrating all of the drugs. Any drug that you can buy right now. As Louisianans and policy makers we have to decide when enough is enough."
For citizens like Pam Rivas, the pain is unbearable.
"I lost two children in July 2021, both to fentanyl," Rivas said. "My daughter Danielle July 3. Three weeks later my son Shawn 120 milligrams of fentanyl poisoning. It's poisoning."
At least one man, Hakeem Allen, was arrested accused of supplying the streets of Baton Rouge with the deadly fentanyl last October after Shawn Rivas' death.
"I've taken my loss, my pain, my anger and channeled it into trying to make a difference in the community to stop this from happening to other people," Rivas said.
Both bills are scheduled to be discussed next week in a senate committee.