Proposed Bill Punishing Drug Dealing Resulting in Death

An effort to curb an epidemic, a proposed Indiana law would punish drug dealers for deaths caused by their products. 
 
The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office says this is the first bill to acknowledge consequences for drug dealers and manufacturers whose product results in death. 
 
But what will this mean for the Tri-State's current  battle against drug related deaths?
 
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann says, "What we have now is people in great numbers dying."

Steve Lockyear, Vanderburgh County Coroner says, "They're dying from it in fact we just had one today."

The words drug and death, nowadays found in the same sentence too often. 

"From a couple years ago we had two then we had six then we went to 28 and we're not slowing down this year," Lockyear says. 

Drug overdoses is one of the main causes of death right here in the Tri-State. 

Hermann says, "Someone's life is over there's no getting better there's not let's go to the hospital the person's dead."

"Once they turn to heroin they've made a clear decision that is life threatening," Lockyear says. "Many times they don't realize what they're getting."

Senate Bill 324 could potentially help curb this epidemic. 

"It elevates crimes and punishes people for manufacturing and supplying those drugs to people," Herman says.

The bill states a person who knowingly manufactures, finances or delivers a drug which results in death of the user would be committing a level 2 or level 3 felony. 

"You have the person using, you have the dealer, you have a dealer three states or a country away all have a share in the death," Lockyear says. 

"There's a difference between the casual user and the person dealing drugs and I'm a fan on anything that makes that delineation," Hermann says. 

So how to investigators prove who sold the deadly batch?

Evansville Police Sgt. Jason Cullum says, "We will do what we always do and just use the resources we have available to us."

"We respond to the scenes not only as a death investigation but also as a murder," Lockyear says.

Hermann says,"You could look at it as poisoning you could look at it as a murder."

Senate Bill 324 is still being debated in committee. It is scheduled to be heard again next Tuesday the 14th. 
 


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