I am working with the mum of a teenager who died after taking killer drugs to bring in "Robert's Law".
Robert Fraser, from Deal, was 18 when he died in November 2016 after being given fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin. According to friends, a dealer gave it to him for free saying it was similar to ecstasy. His family discovered his body in his bedroom that evening.
Fentanyl killed 20,000 people in the US last year — up from just 3,000 three years before. Deaths in the UK have also increased in recent months.
I am working with Robert's mum Michelle in a bid to toughen laws, so the American trend is not repeated here. Together we want to bring in "Robert's Law" – which would force police to prioritise cases involving fentanyl, and courts to impose tougher sentences on those caught supplying the drug.
Michelle is an incredibly brave woman. She doesn't want other parents to have to go through what she has. Robert had his whole life ahead of him. But he died from a powerful and increasingly abundant drug he did not know he was taking.
We need to send a strong message to dealers. You will be punished for the misery you inflict.
I am writing to several agencies to establish current positions on fentanyl, including the National Crime Agency, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Justice Secretary, the Home Secretary, Kent Police and NHS England. I then want to table a debate in the House of Commons, before going back to relevant ministers with proposals.
Robert's story will frighten every parent out there. And I want Robert's law to frighten every dealer. All drugs are dangerous, but these some of these new synthetic ones are on a whole different level. We have to tackle this head on, right now, before it gets out of control.