Prosecutors: Dealers Will Be Charged in Drug Overdose Deaths
TOMS RIVER, N.J. — As the number of heroin overdoses continues to rise nationwide, many law enforcement agencies are seeking to prosecute drug dealers for causing overdose deaths.
According to a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of people who say they used heroin in the past year increased by 66% between 2007 and 2011. The number of people who died from overdoses and had heroin in their system shot to 55% from 2000 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nationwide, prosecutors plan to become more ruthless in charging dealers and heroin suppliers for overdose deaths by linking them and the drugs they sold in overdose deaths by changing investigatory techniques and relying on technology, the Associated Press reports. For example, upon receiving word that an overdose has come in, detectives will be immediately dispatched to the scene. Paramedics are being told to treat the overdoses as crimes.
Additionally, authorities plan to charge dealers with laws that carry strict penalties. For instance, in New Jersey, prosecutors plan to employ a strict liability for drug death statute, a first-degree crime, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
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