Zorn bill targets opioid drug dealers

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday introduced legislation to increase punishments for drug dealers feeding the state’s growing opioid epidemic.

“We must take a comprehensive approach in the battle against an opioid addiction epidemic that is killing thousands of Michigan residents every year,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This new measure targets supply of these dangerous drugs by giving prosecutors another tool to keep drug dealers out of our communities.”

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.

“Opioid addiction is a plague impacting every community in our state and nation,” Zorn said. “Dealers are taking advantage of those addicted to these powerful drugs. This legislation would crack down on dealers when their actions cause serious injury to addicts or anyone else.”

Zorn said the bill was the result of discussions on the issue with the Michigan State Police, who are supportive of the measure.

SB 460 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.