MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island lawmakers and parents are hoping to pass a new law making drug dealers more accountable when a user dies from an overdose.
Long Island mother Teri Kroll lost her son Timothy to opioid addiction. His opioids were prescribed by a doctor who was later found guilty, but got just six months in jail.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports now, instead of criminal sale of a controlled substance, there’s a new push for drug peddlers to be charged with murder.
“Today, we join in solidarity to send a message to drug dealers. Watch out, we’re coming for you. New York must pass the bill that I have sponsored in the Assembly known as the ‘Death by Dealer’ statute,” New York Assemblyman Mike Lipetri said.
The “Death by Dealer” statute would charge an individual with homicide if he or she illegally sells an opiate-controlled substance to a person who later dies from its use.
It’s also called Laree’s Law, after an upstate teen who died of a heroin overdose.
Some New York lawmakers are balking, concerned that increased penalties might be used against someone who should be receiving help.
“We are not looking to put the drug users in jail, but we are looking to put the drug dealers in jail. This law would charge them with murder,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
“This walks the balance between understanding the dynamics of addiction and holding drug dealers accountable,” Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Family and Children’s Association, said.
“If a drug dealer knows that this is a possibility and starts to see drug dealers getting arrested and tried and put away, then it’s going to make a difference,” Kroll said.
Janice Talento, a mother of three, speaks to Long Island school districts as part of Drug-Free Long Island.
“If we could come into the schools and tell them that they could be tried for murder, this would have a great impact on the younger kids,” she said.
Talento says students would be scared straight.
A handful of drug dealers on Long Island have been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Both Long Island District Attorneys urge the passage of the “Death by Dealer” bill.