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Maybe you have recently lost your job, or perhaps your current position in Florida does not pay you enough. Either way, you started selling illegal drugs. You could worry about the lives and well-being of people you sell substances to. Would you be responsible if something happened to one of them? Drug Policy Alliance breaks down drug-induced homicide laws and how they are more harmful than helpful.

Understanding drug-induced homicide

Simply put, drug-induced homicide is the act of delivering illegal substances that ultimately result in a person’s death. Such laws stretch back to the 1980s, when the U.S. government sought to punish those who sold drugs to people who went on to overdose on those drugs. Sentences for drug-induced homicide include those associated with murder and manslaughter.

The rise of overdoses

One reason these laws are in the current spotlight is that more and more people die of drug overdoses. As a result, legal professionals and law enforcement officers want to hold those who sell and otherwise distribute drugs that result in overdoses accountable.

The harm in current drug-induced homicide laws

While those who sell drugs are not 100% blameless when people overdose on the substances they sell or deliver, current drug-induced homicide laws are a bit extreme. Often, judges, police officers and persecutors hope heavy sentencing serves as a deterrent for selling drugs. The problem is that no evidence supports these hopes. In fact, it is not unusual for a person who uses drugs to hesitate in calling emergency services after a friend overdoses because she or he does not want to risk a charge of murder or manslaughter.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.