Brown: Deadly Fentanyl and Opioid Epidemic Requires Our Immediate Attention

Assemblyman Keith Brown (R,C-Northport) attended a press conference alongside his Assembly colleagues in Albany earlier today to discuss new legislation to combat the fentanyl epidemic and drug crimes ravaging New York state. Specifically, Brown is hopeful a “Death by Dealer” bill (A.8384) he co-sponsored, otherwise known as “Chelsey’s Law,” will hold drug dealers responsible for perpetuating the illicit drug trade, significantly restrict the open availability of these dangerous drugs on New York streets and also give district attorneys the necessary tools to convict drug criminals.

“Our state has unfortunately been caught in the middle of a deadly fentanyl, opioid and heroin epidemic for far too long,” said Brown. “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. A mere two milligrams of fentanyl, equivalent to just a few grains of salt, can be fatal. 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.”

Under current state law, those who provide an illicit drug that results in the death of a user might only be charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a class B non-violent felony), allowing many involved in the illicit drug trade to escape true accountability. Chelsey's Law, in honor of Chelsey Murray, a 31-year-old Suffolk County resident who tragically passed away in August 2022 from fentanyl poisoning attributed to a nefarious drug dealer, will establish harsher punishment for drug dealers and prevent them from escaping accountability.

“We cannot stand by while the death toll grows, and we cannot turn a blind eye to this rampant epidemic while vulnerable New Yorkers are targeted. We have seen too many children and teens fall victim to this epidemic, and we have seen too many families torn apart due to overdose deaths. I will continue to work with my fellow assemblymembers to prevent future tragedies like the one Chelsey’s family has faced from occurring,” concluded Brown.