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, R-Ardmore, and Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, adds morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and benzodiazepine to the list of controlled substances in the act.
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 of 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.
“These are four of the most commonly-abused prescription drugs in our state, and are the most commonly found drugs in prescription drug deaths,” Simpson said. “Over 80 percent of the drug-related deaths in Oklahoma involve at least one prescription drug. We hope this bill will limit the trafficking of these drugs and prevent further senseless deaths and cut down on drug crimes in Oklahoma.”
Sentences will vary depending on the quantity in an individual’s possession. Individuals convicted under the act would receive a minimum of 10 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. A third or subsequent trafficking offense would result in a sentence of life without parole.
The bill is supported by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. It has been amended and will return to the House of Representatives for reconsideration.
“We want the punishment to fit the crime,” said Mark Woodward, OBN legislative liaison. “It is very rare that someone would meets 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.”