Lawmakers are attempting to slap heroin dealers with second-degree murder charges if they are connected to a fatal overdose, in an attempt to curb disturbing climbs in addiction and abuse.
A bill introduced by Idaho state Democratic Rep. John Gannon advocates a legal crack down on those involved in the trafficking and distribution of heroin in the state. The proposal would guarantee at least 10 years in prison for anyone convicted of dealing heroin. Idaho has a mandatory minimum sentencing law for heroin dealing, currently requiring at least a three-year prison term if caught with two grams of heroin or more, reports KTVB.
“We’re confident that mandatory minimums do have an impact on the drugs that we see come into the state,” Idaho State Police Capt. Bill Gardiner told KTVB. “We’re not talking about the user who has the one or the two hits on them. We’re talking about somebody who is genuinely in it to make money.”
The new law keeps the current mandatory minimum in place, while adding a murder charge if someone dies using their supply of the substance. The bill is drawing some criticism, mainly on the effect this may have on law enforcement resources. Police say tracking a batch of heroin back to the source can often be a wasted effort.
“We got limited hours in the day just like everybody else,” Nampa Police Sgt. Tim Riha told KTVB. “So therefore we have to prioritize and if that becomes a priority because now it’s a murder investigation, it could take away services in other areas.”
Lawmakers in Kentucky are admitting laws designed to give heroin dealers a chance to stay out of prison are failures, moving to bring back harsher sentencing penalties for trafficking the drug Wednesday. A previous law differentiated between those engaged in the bulk transport and distribution of heroin and addicts who sold smaller amounts to support their addiction.
The state Senate voted unanimously to classify any dealing of heroin as a Class C felony, eliminating the chance for dealers to avoid prison for a stint in rehab.
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