In recent years – there have been more drug overdoses –

And overdose deaths –

Here in western Pennsylvania – and across the state.

District attorneys routinely prosecuted drug dealers –

But they could seldom convict a dealer who sold drugs that killed someone.

That charge is called “drug delivery resulting in death –”

And is the equivalent of third degree murder.

The problem?

Prosecutors had to prove the dealer intended to kill the customer.

That didn’t make sense –

So a few years ago – the state legislature tweaked the law –

And dropped the “intent” requirement.

It’s still tough to prove –

But with counties setting records for overdose deaths –

And a lot of cheap heroin and prescription pain pills on the streets –

District attorneys need every tool possible –

To fight the rising drug trade.

It’s not the only answer –

But if it means more prison time for drug dealers –

And even a slight reduction in overdose deaths –

That’s a win.

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