Mosbrucker’s Ivan’s Law bill to protect and educate the public about deadly fentanyl gains unanimous House approval

A bill that would seek to educate and protect the public from fentanyl passed the state House of Representatives with unanimous approval Thursday.

House Bill 2396, also known as “Ivan’s Law,” was written by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, after she held community meetings last year in Goldendale, Toppenish and Yakima, on the deadly and addictive drug and its impacts.

“I talked to hundreds of people, some in a tent, some on a reservation, some in my hometown, and learned a lot about fentanyl. I heard hours and hours of heartbreaking stories,” Mosbrucker told lawmakers on the House floor Thursday.

The latest numbers recorded 96 confirmed drug overdose deaths in Yakima County in 2023, with fentanyl use mostly responsible. King County had more than 1,000 fentanyl overdoses in 2023.

Mosbrucker says the measure addresses three things about fentanyl, which she learned from the community meetings, are needed.

“When people smoke fentanyl in a vehicle, we don’t know the extent of the contamination and the damage it could be doing. Many people shared that the fentanyl user in their family had taken the vehicle, smoked fentanyl inside, and brought it back the next morning. The parent put the baby in the car, not knowing the contamination, and then they became deathly ill,” said Mosbrucker. “We also need to know what to do when a stolen car is recovered that may also be contaminated.”

The bill would have the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, in consultation with the state Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington Poison Center, compile resources on how to decontaminate fentanyl residue and that of other synthetic opioids from motor vehicles.

“Many families also said their child told them, ‘I didn’t know I couldn’t do it just once.’ Fentanyl is not like other drugs where you can use it many times to get high and not necessarily overdose. Fentanyl is fatal,” noted Mosbrucker. “Fentanyl is one pill — one kill. Over and over, we are seeing people of all ages dying from this toxic drug.”

The bill would direct DOH to ensure when conducting a public outreach campaign on the dangers of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to use the phrase, “Not Even Once!” when appropriate. Campaign materials must also be accessible in other languages, and to deaf and blind communities.

“When meeting with nearly 200 homeless people at Camp Hope in Yakima last fall, an individual took the microphone and said, ‘You’re asking me on the street when I have a heroin needle in my arm or I’m smoking fentanyl, if I’d like to go to jail or to treatment. I can’t make a good decision with my life at that point,’ adding that he’d probably do what he could to have his drugs,” Mosbrucker added. “But when he was at the Yakima jail, a corrections officer saw that this man was doing better because he was now sober, and asked the inmate if he would like to have treatment. It was at that time, the individual said ‘yes,’ and was able to get the help he needed, and was able to tell me his story.”

The 14th District lawmaker says the bill would ask jails to provide information to individuals upon release from custody when they are sober of the availability of fentanyl and opioid treatment programs.

“This bill also comes out of a tragedy at home. Ivan’s Law is named after a young man — a 24-year-old tribal member who had fentanyl in his system when he took his life in the jail in my hometown,” said Mosbrucker, referring to Ivan Howtopat who suffered fentanyl withdrawal in the Klickitat County jail last May.

The measure passed the House, 95-0. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov