ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPJE) – Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) says the fight against fentanyl is personal after hearing from his constituents how many lives the deadly drug has taken. And that’s why he’s working on legislation that increases the criminal penalties for those smuggling and dealing the drug.

“When I talk to constituents who have lost a loved one, that does bring it home here to the Permian Basin. I see how this is impacting families in my hometown of Odessa. It does localize what is a national crisis. But I can’t talk to a family member who has just lost a child to a fentanyl poisoning and not do anything about it, especially when there’s clearly plenty of work that needs to be done,” said Rep. Landgraf.

Rep. Landgraf also says Texas House Bills 6 & 7 will go after fentanyl manufacturers, smugglers, and street level dealers with increased criminal penalties, including up to a decade in prison for having just a small amount of the drug.

In Odessa, the proposed bills are already seeing support from local fentanyl awareness advocates including Michelle Watson with the 11:11 Project and Ty Coke with Reach Recovery 180.

“I know all across the country, I have hundreds of other mom friends who have lost their children, and so I’m glad that we’re going to start cracking down. I think that it’s needed to happen for a long time now,” said Watson.

“I think harsh penalties is a good place to start. I like the idea of focusing more on the people supplying the drugs than the ones using them. I think there’s a better rate of success offering those people help on the other side,” said Coke.

Rep. Landgraf also tells ABC Big 2 News that he’s optimistic these fentanyl fighting bills will get fast-tracked to Gov. Abbot’s desk and then be signed into law.