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Law enforcement crackdown aimed at reducing overdoses

North Carolina residents who provide drugs to someone who dies of an overdose could be charged with homicide. Increasingly, law enforcement in many states is cracking down on these drug providers using laws from the 1980s that were intended to go after crack cocaine dealers. Opponents of this crackdown say that those targeted are not drug dealers and that these types of prosecution do not deter addicts. Furthermore, they could actually increase overdose death rates since some people have been prosecuted after calling for medical aid.

A Pennsylvania woman turned herself in after a neighbor overdosed on heroin she provided. The man had given her $10 and asked if she could get him a small amount. The woman was unaware that Fentanyl was included in the heroin. This is a synthetic drug that can be deadly. The woman has been charged with drug delivery resulting in death and if convicted could be sentenced to decades in prison.

One police officer says the increased prosecution demonstrates the extent of thecommitment to stopping these deaths. He also says the severity of the charges may encourage people to turn in higher-level dealers. In the Pennsylvania case, an intent to kill is not necessary. It is only necessary for the prosecution to demonstrate that the drug was deadly.

A person who is facing drug charges of this nature or simply charges involving possession or distribution but not death may want to talk to an attorney. It is important that the person does not assume the situation is not serious because the amount of the drug was small. The attorney might look into whether the evidence was obtained legally or whether the person’s rights were violated in some other way.

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