The fentanyl issue in Alabama: Gov. Ivey addresses crisis

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 9:43 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Fentanyl remains a huge problem, not just in our country, but in Jefferson County. On Friday, we heard a call come in through the radio suggesting there was a fentanyl related overdose. On Thursday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey touched on the issue and what her administration is doing to stop the drug from killing more Alabamians.

Governor Ivey says this is exactly why she signed House Bill 1 in to law back in April. It created mandatory minimum sentences, so if you sell or distribute fentanyl you could face up to 25 years in prison.

“The deadly drug fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 to 45, a 94% increase since 2019,” said Governor Ivey.

Hundreds have died in Jefferson County just in the last two years. In 2022, there were 448 drug fatalities in Jefferson County. 355 died due to fentanyl. In 2023, there has been 149 confirmed drug deaths and 114 have had fentanyl in their system. Governor Ivey says a lot of the deadly drug is making its way here from Mexico.

“In March alone, enough fentanyl was seized at the southern border to equal 645 million lethal doses.”

It doesn’t take a lot of fentanyl for a dose to be lethal. In fact, you only have to cover the date on a penny to see how little it takes to count as a fatal dose. That’s another reason why law enforcement are so focused on the issue.

“We can’t stop it from coming across the border, that is beyond Calera PD’s control. When we find people distributing and selling fentanyl here in our community, we make extreme efforts to go after them and to get the maximum punishment for the people that are selling that poison to our kids in our community,” said Calera Police Chief David Hyche.

Jefferson County Coroner Bill Yates says it is by far the number one problem as far as drug fatalities in Jefferson County.

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