NC Governor Roy Cooper just signed a new bill that will allow drug dealers to be charged with murder.
The new ‘Death by Distribution’ law (HB 474 / SB 375) makes it a felony to illegally distribute drugs that result in death, punishable by 40 years in prison.
According to the new bill, a person can now be found guilty of death by distribution of certain controlled substances if all of the following requirements are met:
- Person distributed at least one certain controlled substance to the victim
- Ingestion of the controlled substance caused the death of the user
- Person’s unlawful distribution of the certain controlled substance or substances was a proximate cause of the victim’s death
- Person did not act with malice
- Person has a previous conviction of trafficking or has a prior conviction within 7 years of the date of the offense.
The act specifically includes the following controlled substances; opium, opiate, opioid, synthetic or natural salt, compounds or derivatives of opium, opioid, opiate, cocaine, methamphetamine or any mixture of one or more of the named substances.
Supporters of the new law say that it is a major step in fighting our growing opioid epidemic, but critics say it will stop people from dialing 911 when someone is experiencing an overdose.
The new law does include a ‘good samaritan’ clause, which carves out exceptions for anyone;
- Issuing a valid prescription for a controlled substance for a legitimate medical
purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of professional
- Dispensing, delivering, or administering a controlled substance pursuant to a
prescription, by a pharmacy permitted under G.S. 90-85.21, a pharmacist, or
an individual practitioner.
What do you think about the new law?