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© New StartFentanyl dealers would be charged with murder
Drug dealers who sell or distribute fentanyl could face first-degree murder charges under a proposed Virginia House of Delegates bill.

House Bill 1455, authored by Del. Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) states:
"Any person who sells, gives, or distributes a substance containing fentanyl to another person without such person's knowledge that the substance sold, given, or distributed contains fentanyl is guilty of attempted murder of the first degree by poison."
In addition, the bill proposes to punish dealers involved in the sale, gift, or distribution of substances containing fentanyl that "results in the death of the other person." The dealer would be "guilty of murder of the first degree by poison," according to the legislation.

The delegate prefiled the legislation on December 21 in preparation for when the Virginia General Assembly's upcoming new session convenes on January 11, 2023.

Delegate Anderson told The Center Square:
"If they die - it's first-degree murder by poison. It's time to call drug dealers pushing fentanyl unknowingly to buyers what they are - cold blooded murderers - and punish them accordingly."
Virginia has been hit with a wave of fentanyl-related deaths in 2022.

It has been a growing trend that fentanyl deaths in Virginia has been dominating the overdose deaths in Virginia. Virginia Department of Health reported that in 2020, three out of every four fatal overdoses involved Fentanyl.

In April 2022, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sent a letter state officials in Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Washington, D.C. of the rise of "fentanyl-related mass-overdose events" in their areas. In 2021, DEA found that 66 percent of overdose deaths nationwide were related to fentanyl.

Customs and Border Protection has reported to have seized 14,104 pounds of fentanyl on the Southwest border in the fiscal year 2022.

Deaths involving fentanyl increased by a marked 22% in 2021, according to CDC data.

In November, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares launched a public awareness campaign called "One Pill Can Kill," to generate attention to the dangers of fentanyl, counterfeit drugs, and opioid.