North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper recently signed a bill into law that will charge drug dealers with murder if someone dies from a drug overdose.
WTVD reported that Cooper signed the bill, called the Death by Distribution act, into law on Monday.
The law will allow prosecutors to charge drug dealers with murder. Penalties would include a Class C felony of death by distribution of certain controlled substances and a Class B2 felony of aggravated death by distribution of certain controlled substances.
The "certain controlled substance," according to the bill, includes "any opium, opiate, or opioid; any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium, opiate, or opioid; cocaine .. methamphetamine ... or a mixture of one or more of these substances."
According to the bill, someone would be guilty of death or aggravated death by distribution of certain control substances if the following requirements are met:
- The person unlawfully sells and delivers at least one certain controlled substance to the victim.
- The ingestion of the certain controlled substance or substances causes the death of the user.
- The person's unlawful sale and delivery of the certain controlled substance or substances was the proximate cause of the victim's death.
- The person did not act with malice.
The Associated Press reported that the bill, one of dozens Cooper signed into law, is one supporters say will help in the opioid epidemic. Critics say it will keep people from calling 911 during an overdose.
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