Senate panel OKs Zorn bill targeting opioid drug dealers

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to increase punishments for drug dealers feeding the state’s growing opioid epidemic.

“This is about targeting drug dealers who are helping feed an opioid addiction epidemic that is killing thousands of Michigan residents every year,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Opioid addiction is impacting every community in our state, and we must take a comprehensive approach to win this battle.”

Under Senate Bill 460, a person who illegally provides a Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance, such as an opioid-based pain medication, that is the cause of serious injury to the user or another person would be guilty of a felony punishable by two years in prison.

A second conviction would result in a punishment of five years in prison, and subsequent convictions would be punished by 10 years in prison. The sentences would be in addition to punishments from other related convictions and would be required to be served consecutively.

“Our goal is to reduce access to the supply of these powerful drugs by prosecuting those who illegally provide them,” Zorn said. “This bill would give prosecutors another tool to punish drug dealers when their actions cause serious injury to those that are drug dependent.”

The Michigan State Police support the measure, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.