EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Jim Banks Introduces Legislation Increasing Penalties For Drug Dealers Targeting Children

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks introduced legislation Thursday that would increase penalties for drug dealers and manufacturers who market certain controlled substances to children.

The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, which is titled the “Protecting Kids from Candy-Flavored Drugs Act.” The bill would specifically increase penalties for people who manufacture, create, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or Schedule II that is: “1. Combined with a beverage or candy product, 2. Marketed or packaged to appear similar to a beverage or candy product, or 3. Modified by flavoring or coloring to appear similar to a candy or beverage product.”

In order to be eligible for an enhanced penalty, the perpetrator must have known or had reasonable cause to believe that the modified controlled substance would be distributed to a minor. Anyone who alters a controlled substance in these ways would be subject to up to an additional penalty of 10 years in prison for the first offense and up to 20 years for subsequent offenses.

The bill would also direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to provide for a penalty enhancement of not less than two offense levels for a violation of this bill.

As of Aug. 2022, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies have seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states and have released warnings about “rainbow fentanyl.” The DEA said drug cartels appear to be trying to sell fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.


(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“Children across Indiana and the nation are dying from fentanyl poisoning every single day. As a father of three young girls, knowing that illicit narcotics disguised as candy are floating around our communities is terrifying. We must send a message to the criminals targeting our children that this heinous deception will not be tolerated,” Banks told the Caller before introducing the bill. (RELATED: Border Authorities Discover New Version Of Rainbow Fentanyl: ‘Not Encountered Before’)

Before Halloween of 2022, a group of Senate Republicans led by Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall released a video warning parents across the country about the dangers of rainbow fentanyl, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has said looks like candy or sidewalk chalk. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Release Pre-Halloween PSA Warning Parents About Rainbow Fentanyl)

Republican Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter introduced legislation Tuesday that would classify American victims of fentanyl poisoning as crime victims.

Nearly 110,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highest number ever recorded.