Mobile County sheriff and state lawmaker cracking down on fentanyl trafficking

Alabama Representative Matt Simspon also talked about how Alabama plans to spend nearly $300 million won in opioid settlements last year
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - As fentanyl cases continue rising, state officials are working on ways to prevent the dangerous drug from coming into Alabama.

For the past year or so, officials across the country have warned communities about the dangers of fentanyl.

“In my 35 years, we’ve never seen, you know, the effects of a drug that fentanyl causes to people especially, you know, overdoses,” said Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch.

Sheriff Burch says fentanyl cases have slowed down within the past few months. Since he took office in January, his deputies have made several fentanyl-related arrests. He believes the drug is being bought into the area by way of Interstate 10.

“It’s produced in China, goes to Mexico and then comes across the border. Unfortunately, you know, they basically walk it across and then, you know, I-10 is a major corridor coming from the border and then that’s where we’ve encountered some in the past as well,” Sheriff Burch explains.

State lawmakers are also cracking down on fentanyl. In April, Governor Kay Ivey signed HB1, requiring mandatory minimum sentences for anyone caught and convicted of trafficking fentanyl. Legislators also passed HB82, charging any drug dealer who sells a substance that causes the death of another person with manslaughter.

State Representative Matt Simpson says he’s sponsoring similar legislation created after several officers across the country have been exposed to Fentanyl.

“We can prosecute people from there and to the extent of if that causes the death of an officer we can we can prosecute you for a class A felony,” said Representative Simpson.

Representative Simpson also broke down how the state plans on spending nearly $300 million won in opioid settlements.

“The AG’s office is going to do a lot to combat the public awareness and the addiction process – to kind of get to the users to get them help,” said Simpson.

Both officials plan on working together to protect the state of Alabama.

Anyone in need of help is encouraged to contact Mobile’s Drug Education Council at (251) 478-7855 for treatment.