LI lawmaker pushes for ‘Death by Dealer' law

Long Island Assemblyman Mike LiPetri is proposing a new law that would charge drug dealers with homicide if they illegally sell an opioid to someone who later died from an overdose. LiPetri calls it the “Death by Dealer” law.

“For a dealer who deals heroin on the streets, that user then overdoses on that heroin that evening or the next day and that link is shown, they can be charged with murder,” LiPetri said.

However, the idea of charging dealers with homicide if users overdose on drugs they were sold is receiving pushback, with opponents arguing that many dealers are also drug users and that prosecuting them would be putting the wrong people in jail.

“More often than not, the individuals selling the drugs are in the midst of active addiction themselves,” said Dr. Alexandra Stratyner, a psychologist. “You are going to ultimately going to put people in prison for life who themselves may be struggling with addiction and more often than not are. And how do you determine who’s the dealer?"

The bipartisan legislation passed the state Senate last year, but is currently being held up in Albany.