BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is calling on state lawmakers to take immediate steps to address the deadly influx of fentanyl and carfentanil — synthetic opioids blamed for escalating the state’s addiction crisis.
The Republican on Thursday pointed to a recent report from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration showing that Massachusetts had the nation’s second-highest number of fentanyl-related seizures and arrests in 2016.
Baker spoke as the Senate debated a sweeping criminal justice bill that includes increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking. But he argued the state can’t afford to wait months for a final version of that bill to reach his desk.
Baker called instead for swift passage of several proposals his administration filed, including one allowing the state to automatically follow the federal government’s lead in classifying dangerous new drugs.