Drug overdoses killed 1,420 people in Virginia in 2016 (the
latest year for which we have data). To combat this crisis, the Virginia
General Assembly has repeatedly considered legislation that would crack down on
drug dealers. The bill would charge drug dealers with felony murder if the
drugs that they sell are used in a fatal overdose.
It works like this: If Person A sells or gives narcotics to
Person B, and Person B later dies of an overdose, Person A could be charged
with the felony murder of Person B. A felony murder charge carries a minimum
sentence of 5 years in prison, and a maximum charge of 40 years behind bars.
To VA General Assembly:
The scourge of opioid abuse has spread throughout the country, with tragic cases of accidental deaths happening right here in our state. A bill to crack down on drug dealers came up in 2015 and 2017, but never made it to the governor’s desk. This year, we ask that you finally make it a felony murder to distribute drugs that cause the death of the user.
Too often, dealers sell heroin laced with fentanyl – a far deadlier and more potent drug. Enacting this law would allow police and prosecutors to cut off the drug problem at its source: the dealers. When someone loses their life in an overdose, it’s too late to save that person; we can still save other potential drug users by cutting off their supply. That’s why I’m asking you to make it a felony murder to distribute drugs that are used in a deadly overdose.