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Governor signs bill into law designed to crack down on fentanyl drug dealers

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 7:44 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Fentanyl is killing Mississippians, and a new law is aimed at cracking down on the drug dealers. It’s not intended to get the addicts in trouble.

The families that gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday share a connection they wished they didn’t.

“I don’t want him dying in vain,” said Linda Dove of her son. “It happened a couple of years ago; well, November will be two years. But it seems like it happened yesterday.”

Fentanyl happened as it did for the other families standing alongside Linda Dove. But their willingness to share the hard parts of their story have led to this Parker’s Law being passed and now signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves.

“Talk to your loved ones,” urged Janice Berlin, who lost two sons to overdoses. “It only takes one pill one time. It’s a deadly, deadly drug.”

House Bill 607 creates a crime of fentanyl delivery resulting in death. Under the law, the dealers will face between 20 years to life in prison.

Parker Rodenbaugh’s death was from another drug, but his mother Cordie hasn’t stopped pushing to get this law on the books so other families wouldn’t experience the same thing they did or at least see justice served if they did.

“When Parker died, we had to go through trials. The dealer had ended up getting drug trafficking for what happened to Parker, and also second-degree murder of what happened to Parker,” explained Cordie Rodenbaught. “But after two years of the court, and then appeals, it was overturned.”

The DEA put out a warning earlier this month. In it, it noted that, “Last year, the United States suffered more fentanyl-related deaths than gun- and auto-related deaths combined.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics says it makes it all the more important not to take pills that you didn’t get straight from a pharmacy because using a backchannel way could be deadly.

“If you were to purchase 10 pills, and you thought you were purchasing Xanax, but it was actually fentanyl that had been pressed, colored, and scored, and it’s being sold as Xanax,” described MBN Director Steven Maxwell. “Four out of those 10 pills will contain a lethal dose. And this drug has such unique properties that we see it being sold as a counterfeit for a voluminous number of pharmaceutical drugs.”

“Fentanyl has taken the lives of too many of our family members, friends, and neighbors. It has wreaked havoc and been an absolute tragedy for our communities,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I want to thank Cordie Rodenbaugh for her tireless work in advocating for this law and fighting drug use among students. I want to give prosecutors every tool available to fight this epidemic and help to save lives. We’ll continue to do all that we can to fight fentanyl and other illegal drugs and those who distribute them.”

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