Gov. Scott signs bill to increase punishments for opioid trafficking

Mandatory minimums in place for fentanyl dealers
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 17:20:47-04

Gov. Rick Scott signed a ceremonial bill in Sarasota that will give fentanyl dealers stiffer penalties. 

HB 477 will give dealers of the potent drug mandatory minimum sentences. Sarasota and Manatee Counties have been hit hardest in the state by the opioid problem.

"There's not an easy solution if there was one we probably would have done it already," said Scott.

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said the measure will send a message to dealers.  

"This should deter them and if it doesn't they are going to be locked up the way they should be," said Wells.

Gerri Stanhope lost her son to an overdose. She applauds the measure, but believes the bill will only help part of the problem.

"We need more treatment centers, we basically only have one in Manatee County," said Stanhope.

State leaders said funding to help with treatment of users is coming later this year.

Manatee County is expected to surpass last years overdose numbers by the end of this year.