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State Senate Passes Bill To Charge Heroin Dealers With Murder After ODs

The State Senate passed a new bill that would allow heroin dealers to be charged with homicide in the event of an overdose.
The State Senate passed a new bill that would allow heroin dealers to be charged with homicide in the event of an overdose. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Senator Terrence Murphy (R- Westchester, Putnam counties) announced passage of a package of bills to help decrease heroin deaths and put more drug dealers behind bars for peddling dangerous opioids.

The legislation passed allows law enforcement to charge a drug dealer with homicide if a person dies from an opiate controlled substance sold by that dealer. The law specifically targets those who seek to profit from heroin and other opioid sales - not a witness or other person who may have been doing drugs (i.e. a "co-user") with the victim at the time of the accidental overdose.

The measures are being put forth by the State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction as part of its continuing examination of the issues created by increased heroin abuse that is causing hundreds of deaths in communities across the state.

"The first round of hearings provided valuable insight as to the obstacles we as a state must overcome to win the war on heroin and opioid addiction," Murphy said in a statement. "This legislative package will advance important legislation from last year's Task Force as well as address new issues which have been identified as a result of the most recent hearings. Ultimately, we must continue our fight every day to curb the scourge of this epidemic by holding drug dealers accountable and by providing realistic options for prevention and those in recovery."

Over the past several weeks, the Task Force has held forums in Yorktown, Rochester, Lewiston, and Albany. Additional forums will be planned for more New York communities in the fall.

The preliminary package of 13 bills builds on the 2015-16 State Budget, which provided significant funding for programs targeting the heroin crisis, including: $7.8 million in funding for statewide prevention, treatment and recovery services; $450,000 to purchase Narcan kits given out for free to individuals who participate in a Narcan training class; and $140,000 to finance the cost of Narcan kits for staff and nurses authorized to administer Narcan in the event of a heroin or opioid overdose at school.

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