For Immediate Release - October 27, 2015

AG Healey Statement on CDC's Fentanyl Advisory

Report Lists Massachusetts with Second Highest Amount of Fentanyl-Related Seizures; AG Healey, Chairman Fernandes Filed Bill Making Fentanyl Trafficking A Crime

BOSTON – In response to a recent advisory by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reporting increases in opioid overdose fatalities and seizures caused by the use of fentanyl, Attorney General Maura Healey today issued the following statement:

“Fentanyl is a highly potent and deadly opioid, and its use is growing exponentially in our state. Massachusetts had the second-most Fentanyl seizures in the country, and yet has no crime for Fentanyl trafficking. We hope the Legislature will act soon to pass our Fentanyl trafficking bill, and give our state a new tool to address this growing epidemic.”

In the continuing fight to combat heroin and opioid overdoses and deaths, AG Healey and House Judiciary Chairman John Fernandes in August filed legislation links to PDF file that would make trafficking fentanyl a crime. The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed the legislation and AG Healey recently urged the Senate to also swiftly pass the bill.

Fentanyl is the most potent opioid available for use in medical treatment and is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Predatory drug traffickers frequently mix fentanyl with heroin, often without the knowledge of the buyer. Its euphoric effects are indistinguishable from morphine or heroin.

In the past year, Massachusetts law enforcement has seen a significant increase in the presence of fentanyl, especially in drug overdoses and deaths.

Earlier this month, a Woburn man was indicted in connection with a major drug operation in which authorities seized more than 2,500 grams of pure fentanyl, more than 900 pills, two guns and more than $73,000 in cash. He will be arraigned in November.