The United States is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the rate of drug-overdose deaths, especially opioid related deaths. The Drug Policy Alliance released a new report titled An Overdose Death Is Not Murder: Why Drug-Induced Homicide Laws Are Counterproductive and Inhumane. Drug-induced homicide refers to the crime and/or sentence enhancement of selling or sharing drugs that result in a death, such as 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)-(C), which provides a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence for distribution of a controlled substance if death or serious bodily injury results from the use of the controlled substance. The new DPA publication provides an overview of drug-induced homicide laws at the federal and state level, how they are being administered, and who is most affected. The report concludes that increasing prosecutions of drug-induced homicides will not curb overdose death rates, will undermine 911 good Samaritan laws, and has the potential to exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
The Training Division provides materials and resources to attorneys appointed under the Criminal Justice Act at fd.org.