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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

The Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act comes spiked with trace amounts of bad policy

Fentanyl is killing Coloradans. Fentanyl is killing families, it is killing businesses and it is killing communities. That is exactly why the most heated bill of this legislative session has been the Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act.

Unfortunately, good politics appears headed toward bad policy. Or at least less good policy.

Critics of the bill have declared that possessing any amount of fentanyl should be a felony. As a basis for this position they argued that possession of up to four grams of fentanyl could kill up to 2,000 people. That statistic has been trotted out by police chiefs, politicians and editorial boards seeking to undermine the Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act.

It is exceedingly unlikely that anyone except an illegal drug manufacturer or distributor (both of whom would suffer more severe penalties under this bill) would possess four or more grams of just fentanyl. Even in counterfeit pills, the copied drug and inactive ingredients comprise most of the pill’s weight. Conversely, the included fentanyl is a tiny, tiny fraction — generally between one and five milligrams (anything over two is potentially deadly).

Addicts suffering from substance use disorders simply do not possess fentanyl in the quantities critics suggest.

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