Lawmakers Target Heroin Dealers for Overdose Deaths

A bill sponsored by Delegate Kathleen Dumais (HB 222) targets heroin dealers and manufacturers for deaths related to their product. Dealers and distributors would face up to 30 years if convicted. As reported in The Cumberland Times-News:

“We’re after the distributor and manufacturer,” said Del. Kathleen Dumais of Montgomery County. “We’re sending the message that if we can trace it to you, you will pay a price,” Dumais said. In Montgomery County alone, five people died from one bad batch of heroin in December, Dumais said. She developed the bill in discussions with Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

“The heroin crisis is one that confronts all of Maryland,” McCarthy said. The fight against the epidemic must be on multiple levels, McCarthy said. McCarthy said that in 2014, there were around 700 overdose deaths in the state related to heroin or fentanyl. “Most people do not understand the crisis in regard to heroin,” McCarthy said.

The proposed law would add one tool in that battle. “It would discourage (distribution of heroin) because you would be held responsible for the lives lost,” McCarthy said. Dumais and McCarthy both stressed the bill isn’t aimed at an addict who might have shared the drug to a friend. In fact, the bill specifically exempts someone from prosecution under the law if the evidence against them arises from an emergency call for medical help.

For more information read the full article in The Cumberland Times-News