MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Ever since a 15-year-old girl died in Semmes and a 21-year-old man died in Theodore from fentanyl overdoses, lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands by proposing bills that could further criminalize the distribution of the drug.

State representatives Chris Pringle and Matt Simpson have proposed their own bills to target fentanyl distribution.

Pringle’s bill focuses on drugs in a broader sense as it focuses solely on fatal overdoses.

“My bill would have made it very simple. If you’re selling drugs, and you cause somebody’s death you will be charged with manslaughter,” said Pringle.

Simpson’s bill focuses solely on fentanyl itself. He’s targeting mainly fentanyl trafficking, and plans to increase prison sentences based on how much fentanyl someone is trafficking. He’s only targeting those who are distributing the drug within the community; not the average everyday person who may not know something they have may be laced with fentanyl.

According to Pringle and Simpson, Alabama does not have a mandatory imprisonment sentence for fentanyl like there is for heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, so they hope this legislation could change that.

Simpson said it only takes very little of fentanyl to kill someone.

“It takes one packet like this, this is one gram,” said Simpson, as he held up a sugar packet. “So, one packet like this can kill 500 people, two milligrams is a lethal dose.”

Virginia Guy, the Executive Director of the Drug Education Council said the overdose deaths in Alabama are a huge problem. She believes this legislation is the first step to help combat the issue of fentanyl overdoses, but much more still needs to be done.

“I support and applaud our lawmakers for doing everything they can to keep our communities safe,” said Guy. “I also want to work on the other end of it which is the demand for the drugs, and I want to give the message to the community that all of these illegal drugs on the street whether they’re pills, vapes, marijuana have the potential to have fentanyl in them.”

The two bills Simpson and Pringle are proposing are not working in conjunction with one another. They are two completely separate bills, so offenders could face multiple charges.

If both are signed into law, a person who is trafficking fentanyl or drugs laced with fentanyl will face trafficking charges and prison time under Simpson’s bill, and if the drugs kill someone, they will face a manslaughter charge from Pringle’s bill.

Simpson and Pringle plan to propose their bills in legislative session in March. If the House and Senate both vote in favor of the bill, it will be placed on the governor’s desk, and if signed, they will become laws.

You can view both Pringle and Simpson’s proposed bills below:

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