HAZEL GREEN Ala. (WHNT) — Families in North Alabama who lost loved ones to fentanyl are reacting to the approved state bill that imposes stiffer penalties on drug traffickers.
The new law says that possessing one gram of fentanyl will get you a minimum of three years in jail. Melissa McAlpine, who lost her daughter Madison to fentanyl poisoning, says the new law is a good first step but believes that more needs to be done.
“I applaud Governor Kay Ivey for passing the law, but we shouldn’t play around with it and not give drug dealers a loophole to go through,” McAlpine explained. “Get ahead of the sentencing and stop them before they find a loophole. I don’t know what it’s going to do but it’s not going to stop drug dealers from selling the drugs.”
The main reason why is that families who lost loved ones to fentanyl know that it all starts with the drug dealer who, they say, knows that the drug could kill someone. Camie Melton of Hazel Green, who lost her husband Chris just three weeks ago, told News 19 that selling it to someone is the equivalent of intentional murder.
“It should be a murder charge because that gives them good business to hear that my husband is gone,” Melton said.”
With the new state law, in addition to the mandatory three years in prison, it will also cost a $50,000 fine for possessing at least one gram of fentanyl. The bill was approved unanimously by both houses of the Alabama Legislature.
Chris Melton, who Camie says battled his addiction, went outside one early morning like he normally does but this time, when he came back to bed, he did not wake up.
“He was my best friend, he was my soulmate, he was my provider and all of that is gone,” she said “I’ve got to figure out how to do this on my own and it’s not fair. It’s just not fair.”
McAlpine says that fighting addiction makes it tough but selling fentanyl is equivalent to intentional murder.
“People that have addictive personalities, they are going through something like they lost somebody, and they are going to want the drug. So a drug dealer is going to keep selling it, so an addict is going to keep buying it.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Camie Melton to assist her with expenses. It can be found here