A California mother who lost her son to fentanyl poisoning expressed outrage after a state Democrat lawmaker put the brakes on considering Republican-backed legislation to crack down on dealers.
Pamela Smith was set to testify in front of the Assembly Public Safety Committee in support of a bill to increase penalties for fentanyl dealing when Chair Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, refused to bring the bill forward.
“I was extremely disappointed [and] angry,” Smith told “Fox & Friends First” Tuesday of Jones-Sawyer’s decision.
“He’s sending a clear message to the drug dealers of fentanyl in our community, in our state, that he cares more about them than he does about the law-abiding citizens of California. And it is outrageous.”
Smith warned drug dealers are being emboldened by current policy and urged stiffer penalties for dealing the deadly substance responsible for killing over 70,000 Americans a year.
Jones-Sawyer defended the decision, calling for a more “comprehensive” and “united” approach to solving the crisis.
“Often there are duplicative efforts put forth, or broad scoped legislation offering temporary solutions, or providing no rational solutions at all,” Jones-Sawyer said in a statement.
“Moving forward, I intend to work on this issue by bringing those who understand the causation, prevention, and treatment components together with policy makers to ensure we have a tactical solution in hand.”
Smith recalled testifying in support of similar legislation five years ago that was voted down by the Assembly for financial concerns.
“They believed that they were going to spend too much money to keep these people incarcerated longer,” Smith said. “They just weren’t interested.”
“I don’t understand the attitude of this Public Safety Committee chair,” she continued. “I just don’t understand it.”
Smith remembered her son Jackson, who died in 2016, as an “amazing person” who would do anything for anyone, adding she misses him “terribly.”
“Ever since he died I have made it my mission… to bring awareness to our community on this fentanyl epidemic and the opioid crisis in order to save others,” she said. “We are not giving up.”
“I ask that any Californian that’s listening to this broadcast reach out to their state legislature… put the pressure on the Public Safety Committee chair to step up and do the right thing and work with us.”
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