Washington State House Democrats


Senate Committee Passes Leavitt Bill Addressing Controlled Substance Equipment

OLYMPIA—Did you know that pill presses and other types of equipment used to distribute controlled substances like fentanyl are legal to be used, even when mass producing pills that kill?

Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place) recently introduced House Bill 1209, known as the Tyler Lee Yates Act, after a constituent of Rep. Dan Griffey’s who died as a result of fentanyl use. The legislation would make it a felony to possess, purchase, or sell a tableting machine knowing that it will be used to manufacture a controlled substance like fentanyl. Mari appreciates her friend Dan’s good partnership in this effort to address one of the most dangerous matters impacting our communities.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and morphine. According to a University of Washington study, the number of opioid related deaths in Washington nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021.

“Our communities are being exposed to deadly substances like fentanyl,” said Rep. Leavitt. “It must stop, and we must act now. We know what equipment is being used to manufacture and distribute fentanyl. Now we’re sending a clear message that if you’re someone who is planning on using this equipment to harm our communities, our laws will hold you accountable.”

Pill presses can be used to make 30-50 pills per minute or up to 3,000 pills an hour, which are often laced with fentanyl or heroin. These pills look like medicine that patients might take such as Adderall. Instead, they are laced with a controlled substance. Folks are duped, and a small trace can kill. The fentanyl epidemic is ravaging our neighborhoods. Banning these machines – when mass distribution of these drugs is harming our children – is critical to keeping our communities safe.

Washington will join some other states as well as British Columbia to get rid of these pills that are killing our residents. This bill will save lives.

HB 1209 passed the Senate Committee on Law & Justice yesterday with strong bipartisan support. It now heads to the Senate Rules Committee to be pulled for a floor vote. Click here to watch Leavitt’s committee remarks.