Should Dealers Be Responsible for Heroin-Related Deaths?

heroin needle

My husband Nick and I just had this discussion. Should someone who supplies another person with heroin who overdoses be charged and face prison time?

We lost Nicholas, our nephew, in August of 2013 to heroin (Read Nicholas’ story 72 Hours of Heroin here). He had been struggling with his addiction but had been clean for a few months. One night the temptation was too strong and he used, with the result being the end of his life. Nick and I weren’t married yet but living together so technically, Nicholas wasn’t my nephew yet but I truly enjoyed having him in my life. His death stunned us.

As we sat at the hospital praying and hoping he’d magically wake up, I went through his phone. The journalist and curious person in me had to know what happened. He was doing so good. He was staying clean. I had to know why. I had to know a timeline and I had to know who sold it to him. I was so angry with the person who sold it to him. I wanted that person to pay. I was able to piece together a timeline and figure out what had Nicholas so down that day. I was also able to figure out who sold the heroin to him… sort of. I had a name, but obviously a nickname. I also had a phone number. The deal had gone down via text message. We turned the phone into the police but for whatever reasons, the case went cold and they weren’t able to make an arrest.

I was angry. This guy killed our nephew. He gave him an illegal drug that is known to cause death A LOT.

I read yesterday that a dealer admitted to supplying a fatal dose of heroin to a Northern Kentucky man and is now facing 20 years to life in prison (Read Story Here). I know I would have jumped up and down for joy had this been Nicholas’ dealer. But when I first read the article, I had a battle between my head and my heart. If I owned a gun store, legally sold you a gun and you went home and shot yourself, I wouldn’t be charged nor should I. If I sold you a car and you chose to drive it off a bridge and died, I wouldn’t be charged. If I sold you cigarettes for 20 years and you died from lung cancer, I wouldn’t be charged.  If I legally sold you beer, you chose to drive, wrecked and killed someone else, I wouldn’t be charged. So why should the heroin dealer? In my heart, I immediately knew I wanted the dealer charged. But my head kept asking questions and comparing it to gun, car and beer salesman.

I told my husband that my head and my heart were having a battle. Although I think he was surprised at first, given all we have been through in the last year, but was also understanding. He said it wasn’t a struggle for him though. Nick said the difference is none of the other acts are illegal. As long as you follow the laws set in place, it’s not illegal to sell a car, a gun, cigarettes or alcohol. It’s illegal to sell heroin. Everyone knows that heroin can, and most likely will eventually, kill.  I am not denying that the user made a choice, a deadly choice but the dealer holds some responsibility as well. The dealer may not have held a gun to the user’s head or pushed the needle into their arm but the dealer provided the user with the deadly drug.

I want to know… what are your thoughts on the subject? Please be respectful of each others’ opinions.




7 thoughts on “Should Dealers Be Responsible for Heroin-Related Deaths?

  1. I strongly believe the dealer should receive death penalty for any act that takes anothers life via drugs. I know this is harsh but that is the only way we are going to save the future of America; China executed in the streets to prevent this from taking over. China is also producing more as a country than us now.
    This world is wicked and people turn away from God, he is the only way one can truly be saved

  2. I think there is a difference between the for-profit dealers and those that are addicted to heroin and selling drugs to their friends in order to get their own drugs free. Clearly those who are addicted need treatment for their disease. Those that are simply making a profit off of our kids should be prosecuted for drug trafficking.

  3. I, too, am bias. I have been in love with a heroin addict for 8 years. He is doing great right now also, hasn’t used in months. I have contacted his dealer and cussed him out, as dangerous as I knew this was, i am so angry! I don’t want my love to be taken from me , and I’m tired of waiting for that to happen all because of this drug! This particular dealer will send text messages and offer him deals to pull him back in when he hasn’t heard from him in awhile. So yes I definitely think he should be held responsible!

  4. YES!!! Making money off of the misery of addicts AND their families is really low….I am the mother of a heroin addict. These people can be VICIOUS….killing anyone who gets in the way of their money-earning operation. Lock ’em up & throw away the key.

  5. I feel the dealer is responsible
    If bartenders are responsible for getting u drunk they r in ny the dealer is responsible for getting selling giving the drug some times they even administer it
    I have family a cousin he passed from the od
    Mostly dr need to stop supplying the vicodins oxy perc it’s nuts they turn people into junkies they need to start being held accountable too

  6. I can’t believe how in the dark I have been on the drug situation.The bottom line to all of this is that KY is letting drugs kill our children. This week two families we know lost children to heroin. Ky is turning their back on everyone by refusing them treatment if they cannot afford it. This has to stop and the state needs to get involved. The only way an impact can be made is if they are receiving treatment. If they are clean they will not be selling heroin and getting someone else on the drug to support their habit. What your organization needs to do is contact a news channel and see if they will get permission to run all the pictures at one time of people who have died of heroin overdoses or suicide due to drugs in the last year. Just like they do if there is a major plane crash. if this doesn’t wake everyone up then nothing will. Then the cops can concentrate on the real drug pushers and not the 18 and 20 year olds who are so hooked their only recourse is to sell it too get what they need.. I am really saddened by the stance our state has taken on drugs. This hard nosed approach is not working. We need to be helping and not just threatening and putting them in jail. I am so tired of going to funerals and seeing the pain everyone is in and then watching a piece of their hearts being buried along with their loved ones. Why aren’t our representatives getting this.

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