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Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris Advances Legislation to Combat Online Fentanyl Sales to Governor’s Desk

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – On Monday, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) advanced Assembly Bill 1027, a measure that will strengthen California’s efforts to combat online illicit drug sales, to the Governor’s desk. AB 1027 will assist law enforcement in their investigations by requiring social media companies to retain data associated with the sale and distribution of illicit drugs on their platforms. The bill has received bipartisan support in both houses of the state legislature and will be sent to Governor Newsom for consideration. 

“Two disturbing trends have dramatically escalated the dangers of fentanyl: the deceptive use of fentanyl in counterfeit pills and the use of social media to traffic illicit substances to young people,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “Illegal drug sellers no longer need to hang out in dark alleys or parking lots. They have capitalized on the easy communication and anonymity of social media sites to target pre-teens, teens and unhoused youth. There is a need – and critical opportunity – for social media companies to assume a larger role in combatting the online trafficking of illicit drugs that is occurring on their platforms.”

Fentanyl has been widely recognized as one of the most deadly drugs circulating on the illegal market, accounting for approximately 108,000 deaths in the United States last year. Unfortunately, many social media platform settings, such as the ability to erase chat history after only a few hours, has made it difficult for law enforcement to track and prosecute online fentanyl traffickers.

AB 1027 will require social media platforms to post their policies regarding accounts removed for controlled substance distribution and their processes for sharing that information with law enforcement. Most notably, the measure will require social media platforms to retain all data related to a sanctioned account for at least 90 days.

“This drug is ravaging our communities every day. Kids are dying. It is clear that this crisis is urgent and immediate action is vital,” Petrie-Norris said. “At the end of an investigation, families deserve more than a dead end. My bill will ensure that our law enforcement partners have every tool they need to fight this epidemic.”

AB 1027 is now awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom. The last day for bills to be signed or vetoed is October 14.