Bill Seeks to Make Homicide by Sale of Opioid a Crime

homicide, Hartford criminal defense attorneyAs it currently stands, drug laws throughout the United States are very strict—loosening regulations on marijuana notwithstanding. In most states, including Connecticut, a single drug conviction can lead to serious criminal consequences and penalties that could follow an individual around for the rest of his or her life.

Unfortunately, however, many throughout the country believe that the so-called “War on Drugs” has ultimately failed. Instead of getting illegal substances off our streets and away from our children, drug problems persist and our prisons are as crowded as ever. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has been a leader in a new approach toward drug crimes in the state, shifting the focus, in most cases, from punishment to education and reform. Such efforts have been primarily intended for non-violent offenders and those charged with relatively minor offenses. But now, two other Connecticut lawmakers have proposed legislation that would create a new drug crime in the state: homicide by sale of an opioid.

Overdose Deaths Rising

Around the country, there has been growing concern about the rising number of deaths linked with heroin. In late 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released the results of the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment which highlighting the nationwide opioid epidemic. The study showed that nearly 80 people per day die as the result of an overdose related to heroin or a pharmaceutical opioid. The DEA’s research pointed to the reemergence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is more powerful than heroin. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin products or “pressed into counterfeit prescription pills” which can lead to overdose. Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg says that opioids like heroin and fentanyl “are killing people in this country at a horrifying rate.”

Holding Drug Dealers Accountable

As opioids continue to kill, they cannot do so unless they are in the hands of users. Those who put them there should be held accountable, at least according to two State Representatives in Connecticut. Representatives Kurt Vail and Devin Carney have proposed separate but similar bills that would create the new crime of homicide by sale of an opioid—a charge that could be filed against a drug dealer whose products lead to an overdose death of a user. The lawmakers believe that the new charge—which would likely be considered a felony—could be a deterrent to drug dealers who are currently “taking advantage of addiction.”

Under the current laws in Connecticut, a drug dealer can be charged with manslaughter in certain overdose death cases, but the new measure would increase the potential penalties. While there may not be enough to support for the bills to become law just yet, the representatives are hoping that the measures reach public hearings so that the details can be further developed.

Facing Drug Charges?

If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, it is important to seek the help of an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Call [[phone1]] to schedule a free initial consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. We will work hard to ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process and will fight to protect your rights.

 

Sources:

http://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20170119/lawmakers-want-to-make-homicide-by-sale-of-opioid-new-crime

https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq120616.shtml

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-05546-R00-HB.htm

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