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Alabama Senate votes to toughen fentanyl penalties

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate has voted to stiffen penalties for distributing fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

Senators voted 26-0 on Tuesday for the bill. It moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

Sen. Cam Ward, the bill’s sponsor, said an influx of fentanyl, which is more powerful than heroin, is causing a spike in overdose deaths.

Ward said state penalties for fentanyl possession are now low, and the bill would make the penalties similar to those for heroin.

The bill creates mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking fentanyl.

A person convicted of having more than one gram would get a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Anyone caught with two or more grams would serve 10 years and those caught with four grams or more would serve 25 years.