POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill increasing the penalty for several drug charges at a press conference in Lakeland Thursday.
House Bill 95 was crafted based on guidance from the Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse Task Force, which was formed in 2019 when Ron DeSantis took office. It was formed to develop a statewide strategy to identify best practices to combat the opioid epidemic.
The bill puts two recommendations from the task force into law.
The first one is adding methamphetamines to the to the list of specified controlled substances where the dealer can be charged with first-degree felony murder if the drug is found to have caused a death.
The second recommendation signed into law is the upgrade for a sale of a controlled
substance charge from third degree to second degree or second degree to first degree if the sale happens within 1,000 feet of a substance abuse treatment facility.
It also increases the mandatory penalty for a person convicted of trafficking in certain amounts of fentanyl or fentanyl analogues from three years to seven years, and from 15 years to 20 years.
DeSantis spoke alongside law enforcement and families effected by the opioid crisis.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was one of the speakers and said 116 people died in Polk County from a fentanyl overdose in 2021.