Fox News reported that there were 106,699 fatal drug overdoses in 2021, with many deaths involving the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl.
In response to the crisis, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis says that those who sell the deadly narcotic should face life in prison.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis advocated the idea during a press conference on Thursday, saying, "We are a law and order state."
DeSantis went on to hail the fact that it will now be "a first-degree felony to possess, sell, or manufacture fentanyl or other controlled substances to look like candy."
DeSantis announces harsher penalties for fentanyl. It will now be "a first-degree felony to possess, sell, or manufacture fentanyl or other controlled substances to look like candy."
Those targeting children w/ fentanyl will get a mandatory life sentence and $1 million penalty. pic.twitter.com/CFsgrbBKi9
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) January 26, 2023
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered a growing number of fentanyl tablets which resembles candy.
8/17 CBP officers #Nogales POE seized over 15,000 fentanyl pills strapped to a person’s legs. Second consecutive day colored fentanyl pills with the appearance of candy seized .This could be the start of a trend with Transnational Criminal Organizations targeting younger users. pic.twitter.com/y5KT5Zveop
— Port Director Michael W. Humphries (@CBPPortDirNOG) August 18, 2022
In addition to tougher sentences for fentanyl dealers, DeSantis also addressed the issue of capital punishment, including a proposal to allow for death sentences when a supermajority of a jury agrees.
The Sentinel pointed out how Florida currently requires that a jury be unanimous in its decision to impose capital punishment, something which allowed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz to escape execution.
"I don’t think justice was served in that case," the governor said of Cruz, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 17 students. "If you’re going to have capital [punishment], you have to administer it to the worst of the worst crimes," DeSantis insisted.
The governor went on to lament that Florida "doesn’t allow capital punishment for anything short of a homicide" despite "unrepentant" sexual predators "ruining these kids' lives."
"I believe the only appropriate punishment that would be commensurate to that would be capital," DeSantis said of child rapists.
"Everyone feels that way when you see this," he continued, adding that if execution is not an option then child sex predators should be locked up for life since "they will reoffend if you put them back on the street."
Any attempt to impose capital punishment on child sex predators is sure to face legal challenges, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 2008 case that the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for child rape.