The UK’s top police force has heaped praise on our successful campaign against a powerful new drug.
Robert’s Law, introduced last year, amended sentencing guidelines so that anyone caught supplying fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin – would spend years more behind bars. The campaign was led by the mother Robert Fraser, an 18-year-old from Deal, Kent, who died in 2016 after taking the drug.
After Robert’s Law was introduced, a Yorkshire gang of three was handed record custodial sentences totalling 46 years. Government figures released in August show the number of deaths from fentanyl reduced last year, bucking a trend of sharp increases.
Now Bex Smith, Head of Operations for Commodities at the National Crime Agency, has said her force fully backs the new measures. Ms Smith said: “The NCA recognises the valuable work of the campaign in highlighting the unique problems posed from fentanyl analogues and the subsequent impact the work had on influencing the sentencing guidelines for prosecutors. The NCA warmly welcomes this amendment to the sentencing guidelines. We also continue to monitor deaths from fentanyl analogues in the UK, which, although sadly are still occurring, have slowed down considerably following a spike in 2017.”
The Sentencing Council published new guidance in June 2018, putting even small quantities of the drug into the top sentencing category.
Tougher sentencing works. The year-on-year increases of fentanyl deaths have finally stopped. Now we need to get things going in the other direction. Fentanyl is an evil drug. It is incredibly powerful and most users don’t know they are taking it, because the dealer has added it for profit. We needed our justice system to recognise this particularly reckless form of criminality.
Robert’s mum Michelle deserves huge credit. She has fought bravely so that Robert has a legacy. She has delivered something positive from utter misery.