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Law Criminalizing Fentanyl Takes Effect in Massachusetts

A new Massachusetts law criminalizing the trafficking of fentanyl is taking effect.

The law creates the crime of trafficking in fentanyl for amounts greater than 10 grams with punishment of up to 20 years in state prison. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

The Legislature approved the bill last year to help curb a spike in opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill in November. The law takes effect Tuesday. 

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey says the law will help police target traffickers who mix fentanyl with heroin, often without the knowledge of the buyer. She says fentanyl can be deadly even in very low doses.

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