HOUSTON - Governor Greg Abbott traveled to the Bayou City, waging a legislative battle against the clear and rapidly growing danger of the ultra-potent synthetic opiate Fentanyl crossing our border.
Abbott reports interdiction of Fentanyl by State Troopers increased nearly one thousand percent over the past year.
"The number of lethal doses that just the DPS has seized is enough to kill every man woman and child in the states of Texas and California combined," said Abbott.
Written and sponsored by Houston's crime-focused State Senator Joan Huffman, SB-768 elevates punishment for serious trafficking in Fentanyl to a maximum penalty of life in a Texas prison. At Crime Stoppers of Houston headquarters, Abbott signed the measure into law.
Huffman says the casualties claimed daily by a drug 50 times more powerful than heroin is heartbreaking.
"A family who woke up one morning to find their young college-age son dead in his bed," he said.
Local and federal drug enforcement confirm so-called "party pills" like ecstasy are being laced with potentially lethal amounts of Fentanyl - manufactured, smuggled, and distributed by Mexican drug cartels.
"Mad chemists are making them. You don't have professionals making these pills," said Daniel Comeaux, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Houston. "Unfortunately, it's touching a little bit of everybody. Every community. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. These pills are touching everyone right now."
"We want to get to those who are distributing this drug who are responsible for killing our young people... This is killing our children," said Huffman.
Abbott says just two milligrams of Fentanyl constitutes a fatal dose.