PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — U.S. Attorney David Hickton says he’s using every weapon he can in the war on heroin, including the toughest law on the books.

“My hope is all the drug dealers out there realize it isn’t worth taking somebody’s life,” Lynn Stasik, of Carrick said Wednesday outside court.

Stasik came to federal court in search of some solace for the death of her son, Matthew. He died last year from shooting heroin laced with the more lethal drug Fentanyl.

In court, defendant Justin Robinson was arraigned on charges of selling heroin causing death, which is federal statute that carries a very stiff sentence — 20 years to life.

Until recently, the law was rarely used, but in an effort to fight the heroin epidemic, Hickton charged 11 suspected dealers with it.

“It’s a powerful weapon. It’s effectively throwing the book at them,” he said.

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Pittsburgh Police arrested Robinson last April after Stasik was found dead and two others ended up in the emergency room. Toxicology tests showed they had used heroin that contained Fentanyl.

While not commenting on the specific cases, Hickton says the stiff law is meant to send out a message to those who would sell potentially lethal drugs.

“My hope is that it will give pause to people and give them some reason to decide that they’re not going to distribute these drugs,” Hickton said.

Lynn Stasik, a grandmother who is now raising her sons two orphaned children, says she believes that the use of the law may cause dealers to think twice.

“Maybe Matthew’s life didn’t go in vain,” she said. “Maybe something will be done to help others, other kids. We have to stop it.”

There are now a dozen indictments for the distribution of heroin causing death.

Hickton hopes that they will send out a message to potential dealers that they could spend the rest of their lives in jail.