A judge at B.C.’s top court is calling for stronger sentences for people who sell fentanyl.
We couldn’t agree more.
In a ruling posted online Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal to increase the six-month sentence of a 59-year-old man who was caught with drugs, including 2.6 grams of the deadly opioid.
The Crown had argued that the sentence wasn’t enough but the effort was denied, since fentanyl-related deaths were not as prevalent at the time of the offence. However, the three judges agreed the court should identify a higher sentencing range because of the current “public health crisis associated with illicit fentanyl.”
The judge who dissented in the judgment, Justice Mary Newbury, called for a sentence of 18 to 36 months – or possibly even higher.
Frank Stanley Smith, a first-time offender, tried to sell drugs to an undercover cop in 2015 on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The current sentencing range for first-time offenders is six to 12 months – the same as heroin.
It’s no secret what a horrible toll deadly opioids like fentanyl have taken on our local streets. Last year, 23 opioid overdose deaths occurred on the North Island, with 10 of those deaths happening in Campbell River.
While the feds have announced an additional $10 million for B.C.’s fight, along with $65 million nationwide over the next five years, we believe getting much tougher with the people who sell the deadly stuff will also help save lives.
It certainly can’t hurt.