Georgia Senate Passes ‘Austin’s Law’ to Combat Fentanyl Crisis

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On March 20, 2024, the Georgia State Senate approved the House Substitute to Senate Bill 465, also known as “Austin’s Law,” sponsored by Sen. Russ Goodman (R–Cogdell).

The bill, named after a Georgian who tragically lost his life after ingesting a pill laced with fentanyl, introduces a new offense category, felony aggravated involuntary manslaughter. This allows for the prosecution of drug dealers and distributors. Additionally, the bill will criminalize the possession of pill presses, tableting machines, encapsulating machines, and other materials used for counterfeiting controlled substances.

Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones expressed satisfaction with the Senate and House’s acknowledgment of the severity of the fentanyl crisis. He hopes the passage of “Austin’s Law” will curb the needless deaths of Georgians by holding traffickers accountable.

Sen. Goodman praised the bill’s advancement to the Governor’s desk, emphasizing its significance in protecting communities from harm. He thanked Lt. Gov. Jones for prioritizing the issue and acknowledged the advocacy of Austin’s parents, Gus and Beth Walters, in bringing attention to the issue.

The bill now awaits Governor Brian P. Kemp’s signature to become law.

Read the full text of SB 465 here.

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