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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 12, 2022 10:14 AM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Tyler’s Law: Imposing Tougher Penalties on Fentanyl Dealers
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce “Tyler’s Law” (SB 1295 last Session) to target drug dealers who peddle fentanyl resulting in a fatal overdose.  

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.  Fentanyl can be cut, colored, scored, and pressed to be sold as a counterfeit for other drugs. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.   In some scenarios, individuals purchase what they think are Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills that are actually laced with fentanyl. 

One such example occurred in my District.  Tyler Shanafelter, 18, overdosed when he purchased what he thought was Percocet.  Instead, those pills were laced with fentanyl. He tragically overdosed and lost his life.    
Fentanyl is easier to produce and distribute than heroin, enhancing its appeal to dealers and traffickers. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were over 100,000 fentanyl and opioid related deaths in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020. The epidemic only seems to be worsening here in Pennsylvania.  

Under Pennsylvania’s current “drug delivery resulting in death” statute, dealers often cut deals for lenient sentencing and little to no jail time.
Under Tyler’s law, an individual who sells or engages in a monetary transaction to distribute fentanyl resulting in a death would face a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence upon conviction. This mandatory minimum penalty would not apply to drug users who share drugs with friends or family members or those who seek medical help for individuals who overdose.
Help me honor the legacy of Tyler, his family, and the other families in Pennsylvania who have lost loved ones. We must send a message to drug dealers that if you kill Pennsylvanians through the sale of fentanyl, you will be spending most of the rest of your life in prison.

Co-sponsors from last session include Senators ARGALL, LANGERHOLC, SCAVELLO, MENSCH, VOGEL, HUTCHINSON, DUSH and STEFANO

I invite you to join me as a co-sponsor of this important legislation. If you have any questions regarding this bill, please contact Joshua Herman in my office at jherman@pasen.gov

Introduced as SB235