BOHEMIA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A manslaughter conviction for selling drugs could be a precedent setting weapon in the war on opioids.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, it’s the first such case in the state of New York.

James Fava of Ronkonkoma is the first defendant in the sate to plead guilty to killing someone by selling them drugs.

Bryan Gallagher, 28, accidentally overdosed on the deadly opioid fentanyl.

“It’s just been heart-wrenching,” his mother Carol said. Feels like yesterday, it hasn’t changed.”

“This for us was about Bryan, but this charge was so much bigger,” his sister Heather said.

The charge; manslaughter.

“If you’re a dealer, be careful. Now the DA has a tool they can use and they’re going to go after you,” Bryan’s father Michael said.

“As long as they have money in their pocket, they don’t care what they do to anybody else,” his brother Chris added.

The family wants laws to make it easier to charge drug dealers who cause the deaths of their customers.

“A new beginning for the State of New York, and hopefully it will go further,” Carol said.

The family said that with so many kids dying, a foundation in their son’s name will pay for anonymous young addicts to get in-patient treatment.

“We have one child who went through already, and we are happy to say he’s six months sober,” Michael said.

“These drugs are more potent and unhealthy than ever before. We need to turn the tide, we are losing the battle as the OD deaths continue to increase,” Steve Chassman, Long Island Council on Alcoholism And Drug Dependence said.

The latest tool distributed by the DEA is a strip that detects fentanyl in street drugs to save lives.

Drug overdose is now the single greatest cause of unintended deaths in America.

Sadly a collection of plaques with the names of young victims is growing weekly.

Fava is expected to spend the next four to six years in prison when he is sentenced.

 

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