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Mina Details New Protections For Officers At Ceremonial Signing

File photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott
File photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Orlando Thursday for a ceremonial signing of a bill enhancing criminal charges for fentanyl.

The law takes effect in October, and allows dealers to be charged with murder if a customer dies from a fentanyl overdose. It also allows trafficking charges for fentanyl and chemically similar derivatives.

Scott said Florida has $27 million in federal grant money available to fight opioids.

“This is a step," Scott said. "This does not solve the problem. We are gonna have to keep fighting this for a long time. And anybody who’d dealt with a family member that’s dealt with drug abuse knows it’s very difficult when someone has an addiction to deal with it.”

Fentanyl is an opioid that’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Recent data show it was responsible for killing more than 700 people in the first half of last year.

The signing comes after an Orlando Police Department detective was brought to the hospital with trouble breathing after being exposed to fentanyl. Two other officers were also brought as a precaution.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina says officers will have to take extra steps to protect themselves.

“We’re gonna require them to wear masks and two pairs of gloves and goggles at all times when dealing with a suspected drug that may be fentanyl so they’re not injured or even die,” Mina said.

American Bridge, a Democratic Super PAC, released a statement saying Scott has not dedicated enough resources to fight addiction or fund treatment.