Onslow News

Onslow News

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

New North Carolina law brings harsher charge for some drug dealers

By Angela Watson | Feb 3, 2020

A new law in North Carolina means drug dealers can be charged with second-degree murder, a charge that could carries up to 40-years in prison.

Drug dealers in North Carolina can now be charged with second-degree murder if the drugs they sell lead to a person’s death. 

The new law – Death by Distribution Law – opens the door for that. Drug dealers could face up to 40 years in prison. 

Previously, proof of malice was needed to charge a drug dealer with second-degree murder.  

Vanessa Sapp, whose son died of an overdose four years ago, said the impact of selling drugs is akin to shooting a gun randomly in a crowd. 

“Eventually, you’re going to hit someone, and it’s the same with drugs," she said. "Eventually, someone is going to die from the drug you give them.”

“Now we can make that connection between the death and the drugs,” said Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller. 

Some people have expressed concerns that friends and family members of victims would be prosecuted, and some in the substance abuse community argued that the law could possibly increase more deaths by overdose. Family members and friends would be scared to call 911 for medical assistance for the drug user, they said.  

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