Lawmaker wants dealers of drugs laced with opioid pain medication to face tougher penalties

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A state lawmaker wants drug dealers to face harsher penalties for dealing drugs laced with certain opioid pain medication.

Jim Merritt, a Republican from Indianapolis, said there is a drug crisis not only in Indianapolis, but throughout the state. According to Merritt, a major problem is dealers lacing drugs with fentynal and carfentanil, which are opioid painkillers that are significantly more potent than morphine. The state says overdoses are increasing as a result.

Merritt will introduce a bill next year that would mandate a 10-year sentence for anyone convicted of selling these drugs. He said the bill would empower prosecutors to seek harsher penalties.

In addition, Merritt wants mandatory sentences for drug dealers responsible for an overdose death. Merritt’s proposed bill would also eliminate a difference in penalties for synthetic drugs, such as ecstasy and LSD, versus other drugs like marijuana and cocaine.

It’s unclear when the bill will be filed during next year’s session or if it will receive widespread support, but Merritt believes it will get attention since it is a nonbudget year at the Statehouse.