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What is the death by distribution law?

The opioid epidemic costs lives every day. That means every day a family loses a loved one due to these drugs. Law makers have been working diligently to find ways to help stop these deaths. One of the newest laws on the books in North Carolina is the death by distribution law, which CNN explains holds those selling drugs accountable for overdose deaths.

This new law makes selling an illegal substance to someone else who then dies from using that substance second-degree murder. This law not only holds people accountable for their part in the deaths of people addicted to opioids but also gives grieving families the opportunity to see someone held accountable for the death of their loved one.

Under this new law, depending on past convictions, a person could face 20 to 40 years in prison. While a conviction will not bring back someone who died, it can help take these drug dealers off the streets. It also sends a message to those who have not yet been caught that they are playing a very dangerous game with not only the lives of those to whom they sell the drugs but also with their own lives.

There is some concern that people may avoid seeking emergency help for an overdose victim. However, the Good Samaritan law already protects them from prosecution, and it is not the intention of this law to convict users but rather those selling the drugs. Plus, the death by distribution law has a special clause specifically addressing the exemption under the Good Samaritan law. This information is for education and is not legal advice.