The Senate approved legislation Monday adding four additional drugs to the state’s Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act. House Bill 2589, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, adds Morphine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Benzodiazepine to the list of controlled substances in the Act.
“These are four of the most commonly-abused prescription drugs in our state and are the most commonly found drugs in prescription drug deaths. Over 80 percent of the drug-related deaths in Oklahoma involve at least one prescription drug,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “We hope that this bill will limit the trafficking of these drugs and prevent further senseless deaths and cut down on drug crimes in Oklahoma.”
Under the Act, anyone who knowingly distributes, manufactures, brings into the state or possesses any of the controlled substances listed in the Act will be guilty of trafficking and will face a set punishment based on the amount and type of drug that was trafficked.
Under HB 2589, anyone found with 1,000 grams or more of morphine; 400 grams or more of oxycodone; at least 50 grams or hydrocodone; or 15 grams or more of benzodiazepine will face a fine of $100,000 to $500,000. The amounts only have to be a mixture containing a detectable amount of any of these drugs.
Depending on the quantity in their possession, individuals convicted under this Act would receive a minimum sentence of ten years, which is twice the prison term for possession of these substances. For a second violation of trafficking, the offender would face a sentence of no less than 15 years, which is three times the sentence for possession. Finally, for a third or subsequent trafficking offense, the offender would receive a sentence of life without parole.
HB 2589 was requested by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN).
“We want the punishment to fit the crime,” said Mark Woodward, OBN Legislative Liaison. “It is very rare that someone would meet these thresholds, but when they do we want prosecutors to have the option of a stiff penalty for those selling these massive quantities of pills.”
The bill was amended and will now return to the House for reconsideration.