Shocking new figures show deaths from fentanyl rose by 29% last year. The news comes just weeks after the announcement of Robert's Law in memory of a Deal teenager who died after taking fentanyl, a substance 50 times stronger than heroin.
Robert's Law was the culmination of a campaign led by myself and Robert Fraser's mum Michelle, pushing for tougher jail sentences for those caught dealing the deadly drug. In June the Sentencing Council issued new guidance reflecting the dangers of fentanyl.
The number of fentanyl deaths increased from 58 in 2016 to 75 in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. These horrifying numbers underline the importance of Robert's Law. From now on, drug dealers know they will face a long period behind bars if they choose to peddle this poison. Michelle and I have argued all along that sending a strong message in the courts will save lives. Now we must see convicted suppliers properly punished so this awful rise in fentanyl deaths is reversed.
Last year heroin and morphine related deaths decreased for the first time since 2012. Yet fentanyl – which has often caused death having been found mixed with heroin – had a 29% increase. Robert Fraser was 18 when he died in 2016 after taking fentanyl. Police believe a dealer gave it to Robert as a "freebie", while across the country dealers are secretly adding it to increase profits.
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