New bill looks to bring harsher punishment to drug dealers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New bill looks to bring harsher punishment to drug dealers

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

As the heroin epidemic grows, local lawmakers are proposing a major crackdown, including a plan to charge some drug dealers with homicide.

The bill is simple. If your drug kills people, you could be charged with homicide.

“It's one and done. It's like Russian roulette now,” said Matthew Walton, president of the High Watch Recovery Center in Kent.

He knows the dangers of heroin and the impacts it has on Connecticut’s youth.

“A bag of heroin has become cheaper than a six pack of beer. For somebody in high school, in a tragic way, it's easier to obtain heroin than beer,” Walton said.

Right now, dealers could get manslaughter.

State Rep. Devin Carney introduced a bill that would charge drug dealers with homicide if their product kills a user.

Representative Jason Perillo backs it whole-heartedly. His 113th district, which serves Shelton, has been plagued by overdoses.

“What's out there on the streets gotten more and more potent,” Perillo said.

Many times, heroin, an already powerful opioid, is laced with fentanyl.

“It takes an infinitesimal small amount of fentanyl to create a lethal dose,” Walton said.

Just this year, Hartford police have responded to multiple overdoses, and in cases that result in deaths, fentanyl could be considered the homicide weapon.

“The street drug of yesterday is not the heroin of today, so we get to the point where it's time to change the way we handle this in the courts,” Perillo said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has been battling against the heroin epidemic for most of his tenure, and Perillo is hoping this bill will have bipartisan support. 

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