Should drug dealers be charged with murder? States ponder

“If they’re dealing fentanyl … they’re just pumping poison out into the streets,” Dean Palozej said. “I’d like to see these guys on a first offense get three to five years. The second offense, charge them with murder. This is going on way too much. People are dying.”

Lawmakers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi and Virginia have proposed murder and manslaughter charges for overdoses this year. Several states passed such laws over the past two years, while others have taken to charging drug deaths under murder and manslaughter statutes that don’t specifically mention overdoses.

Twenty states now have so-called “drug-induced homicide” laws that carry the same sentences as murder and manslaughter, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit drug policy organization based in New York.

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