Governor Tate Reeves is aiming to crack down on drug distribution in Mississippi through the signing of “Parker’s Law” (HB 607), which makes fentanyl delivery resulting in death labeled as first-degree murder.
On Tuesday, the Republican governor signed the bill into law at the State Capitol surrounded by numerous individuals that have lost a loved one to a drug overdose.
Within the crowd stood Cordie Rodenbaugh, a mother that lost her son Parker to a drug overdose in 2014 and has fought to keep other parents from experiencing the same loss she has.
Over eight years later, Parker’s passing became the inspiration for the bill, which aims to enhance the penalty for dealers whose distribution of a substance leads to an overdose.
As Reeves signed the bill, he commented on the impact of fentanyl on American lives as over 100,000 lives were lost due to a drug overdose in 2021.
“Fentanyl has taken the lives of too many of our family members, friends, and neighbors. It has wreaked havoc and been an absolute tragedy for our communities,” Reeves said. “I want to thank Cordie Rodenbaugh for her tireless work in advocating for this law and fighting drug use among students. I want to give prosecutors every tool available to fight this epidemic and help to save lives. We’ll continue to do all that we can to fight fentanyl and other illegal drugs and those who distribute them.”
Now, those charged with “fentanyl delivery resulting in death” will face at least 20 years in prison when the bill goes into effect on July 1.