Should Drug Dealers Be Charged With Homicide If Customer Dies?

Should Drug Dealers Be Charged With Homicide If Customer Dies?

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Anita Seefried-Brown is the project manager with Alliance for Better Communities, a drug-free coalition. She says she deals with many people whose loved ones have died of an opioid related overdose.

"Often times the very first emotion, very strong emotion, is to seek revenge and to seek revenge and to seek revenge through the legal system," she said.

Now, there's a bill going through New York's legislature that could pin drug dealers for overdose deaths.

It's called "Laree's Law" - named after Laree Farrell who died of a heroin overdose in 2013. Her mother, Patty, has been pushing for the bill to go through.

It would allow prosecutors, like Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna Mills, to charge dealers with homicide if the person they sell to dies of an overdose - a charge that could land someone in prison for 15 years to life.

"I do think that this type of bill is definitely needed. We have had cases where we have been able identify who the dealer was," said Mills.

St. Lawrence County D.A. Mary Rain says this could be a great tool for prosecutors, especially when trying to charge some larger drug dealers. But...

"It's going to be extremely beneficial to the large dealers. However, the complexity of trying to get to them through evidence will be much more difficult," she said.

The bill has already passed through the state Senate, but no decision has been made by state Assembly yet.

Both Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush and Assemblywoman Addie Jenne are in support of Laree's Law.

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