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Recent New Texas Law Allows Murder Charges For Fentanyl Distribution

December 29, 2023 – House Bill 6 submitted during the 88th Texas Legislature was eventually signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in June of 2023 becoming enforceable September 1, 2023. This bill along with three others were touted by Abbott as “representing a significant step in the state’s fight against the deadly opioid that will prosecute fentanyl deaths as murder, ensure death certificates reflect when people are poisoned by fentanyl, provide more life-saving NARCAN to Texas colleges and universities, and educate young Texans about the dangers of fentanyl.”

The four bills signed into law were:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
  • House Bill 6 (Goldman/Huffman) creates a criminal offense of murder for supplying fentanyl that results in death, enhances the criminal penalty for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl, and requires deaths caused by fentanyl to be designated as fentanyl toxicity or fentanyl poisoning on a death certificate. Current law does not require such classification on a death certificate, with most fentanyl-related deaths currently classified as an overdose.
  • House Bill 3144 (Lujan/Campbell) establishes October as Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month to help increase awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.
  • House Bill 3908 (Wilson/Creighton), also known as Tucker’s Law, requires public schools each year to provide research-based instruction on fentanyl abuse prevention and drug poisoning awareness to students grades 6 through 12. The bill also requires the Governor to designate a Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week.
  • Senate Bill 867 (West/Rose) allows the distribution of opioid antagonists, including life-saving NARCAN, to Texas colleges and universities to prevent opioid poisonings.

Author: Chad Young

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