There’s an alarming trend in American jurisprudence today. Reactionary measures against the drug crisis that’s been sweeping through large parts of the country have led prosecutors to see criminal intent behind every overdose death — at least, whenever they can connect the drugs that led to the overdose back to its source.
Doctors who prescribe patients too many pain pills have been indicted and convicted on manslaughter charges. Family members who have shared pain meds with relatives have faced trials. Friends who shared drugs with other addicted friends have also found themselves facing long sentences in federal prisons after their friends accidentally overdose.
The idea is to make drug dealers more responsible for the damage they inflict and put a stop to the spread of drugs that are dangerously strong from flooding the market — which has been a major problem.
One huge difficulty with this legal trend is that it could make it harder for someone who is overdosing to get the medical attention they need to survive. After all, addicts tend to hang out with other addicts — and if someone is scared they’ll be charged with murder if a friend overdoses, they may run rather than call 911.
The second huge difficulty is that it requires a disjointed approach to the whole drug problem in this country in the first place — drawing distinctions that aren’t really there between most people “trafficking” in drugs in these cases and the addicts that they supply. In many cases, the alleged drug trafficker is just another individual suffering from addiction and selling a few drugs to support that addiction — or even just sharing what they have with others.
Just this month, authorities arrested a 28-year-old Georgia man two months after he sold heroin laced with fentanyl to another man that accidentally overdosed. This case is the first of its kind in DeKalb County — but it comes just as the Georgia Supreme Court is set to give a decision on a similar case.
The stage is set for more addicts to be prosecuted exceptionally harshly in conjunction with overdoses. If you’re charged with a drug crime in Georgia, get legal help today.