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OPINION: IFF files, Part 4: 'Skittles' kill kids

by MARY SOUZA/Uncanceled and unfiltered
| March 8, 2023 1:00 AM

We have friends who recently lost their son to fentanyl. It was devastating. We have other friends who are seriously worried about their teens experimenting with drugs and unknowingly taking fentanyl camouflaged as a different street pill or, even more sinister, made to look like candy Skittles. One local mom of an addicted teen told me that fentanyl is now cheaper than meth or heroin and is readily available. She’s very upset.

Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin. A 3 mg dose is enough to kill an adult male. Carfentanil, an even more potent form of the drug, is 100 times more powerful than regular fentanyl. In the last few years, according to CDC records, deaths from teens taking illegal fentanyl have skyrocketed in the U.S., increasing 182%. Any form of fentanyl is serious and life-threatening. Yet under current Idaho law, it is actually less risky and more profitable to traffic illegal fentanyl than meth or heroin.

Think it can’t happen here in Idaho? It already is. Fentanyl “Skittles” as the rainbow-colored pills are called on the street, are easily obtained. “We know it’s in our schools and we know dealers use social media to advertise and coordinate deals with young people," said Idaho State Police Capt. John Kempf.

A woman in Boise was arrested for trafficking fentanyl. She was distributing 60,000 pills per week — per week! — in the local Boise area. That’s 15 pounds of the drug, which is the largest individual fentanyl seizure in Idaho. There is no question this drug is a problem here.

Look around at our neighboring states that have legalized drugs. They have enormous problems with drug addiction, crime and homelessness on their streets. News reports claim criminals are quickly released from jail, if they serve any time at all, and are back on the streets selling drugs again. Is that what we want here in Idaho? To you newcomers in our state, do you want Idaho to look like California? Imposing a reasonable, required prison sentence for dangerous drug trafficking is a protection we citizens, and our children, deserve.

So then why did the Idaho Freedom Foundation give a -2 score to a bill that simply adds fentanyl to the current list of meth, cocaine and heroin, as drugs requiring a mandatory minimum sentence in a court judgement? The Statement of Purpose for the bill, H67, says “It is being added to the trafficking statutes to reduce fentanyl drug trafficking in Idaho.” But, as usual, IFF scored the bill right after it was introduced, and before any committee testimony where citizens and experts share their information. IFF doesn’t care to hear from “the people," they have already made their decision based on their political bias.

As we have already discussed in previous columns, IFF is not Republican, it is a Libertarian organization, whose president openly advocates for legalized, or at least decriminalized, drugs, and the person who analyses and scores the bills is a self-proclaimed anarchist. They don’t seem to care that fentanyl is killing kids and young adults in Idaho. Their goal is zero government.

Parrish Miller is the IFF anarchist who analyzes all of the policy bills this year, except Education bills. He shared his vision of an ideal society on his social media: “To me, Liberty means a polyamorous triad including a gay Muslim, a transgender Wiccan, and an agnostic sex worker can guard their opium fields with machine guns while unschooling their privately adopted, unvaccinated children who drink collected rainwater and unpasteurized milk in their off-grid home on the formerly state-owned land they obtained through homesteading.”

So it is no surprise that Parrish Miller would give a negative grade to this bill. But what is appalling to me is that a majority of the legislators on the House Judiciary and Rules Committee would vote to basically kill the bill. Has the threat of a negative score from IFF become so powerful that legislators will give away the sacred responsibility of their vote to an unelected, outside group? Their constituents should be outraged.

Next week we’ll start to connect the dots. There are many people and groups from across the state and the country, creating a web of force, intimidation, influence and funding. You may be surprised at how far these stealth connections go in trying to control our Idaho government. Stay tuned, we’ll connect the dots and follow the money.

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Mary Souza, a Coeur d'Alene Republican, represented District 4 in the Idaho Senate for eight years from 2014 to 2022.

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