Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed has introduced a bill that would include life in prison and the death penalty for drug dealers who cause a fatal opioids overdose.
“This is about justice for the victims and their families and giving our law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to stop the flow of these lethal substances into our communities,” said Reed.
The tougher penalties for those who supply illegal drugs is proposed in the Help Ensure Lives Are Protected (HELP) Act, introduced late last week. Reed said the measure comes out of several recent roundtables held about the heroin and opioid epidemic, which included parents who have lost children because of an overdose.
"It’s only right that we hold those responsible for harming our loved ones accountable,” said Reed.
Reed noted the number of deaths due to synthetic opioids, mainly the highly addictive fentanyl, rose 80 percent between 2013 and 2014. He said the HELP Act will provide law enforcement with additional options in certain criminal drug cases where prosecutors can connect an overdose death to the drug dealer who sold heroin laced with fentanyl.