Virginia bill to hold heroin dealers accountable for deaths fails to pass

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 22:27:28-05

Richmond Va. – The General Assembly failed to pass a needed law to hold heroin dealers, traffickers and other drug dealers accountable when their drugs result in deadly overdoses.

The bill that Attorney General Herring, Del. Scott Lingamfelter, other legislators, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys and the law enforcement community have pushed for the last two years is being left in the Senate Finance Committee.

The bill passed the House of Delegates 94-5 and the Senate Courts of Justice Committee 15-0 before being left in the Senate Finance Committee . The document is the only piece of heroin and prescription opioid overdose legislation proposed by the Attorney General that has not passed.

Herring has partnered with the U.S. Attorney to prosecute deadly overdose situations at the federal level, because Virginia case law makes it almost impossible to hold a dealer or trafficker accountable at the state level.

Herring  has made fighting the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority. He is working to solve the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, legislation, education, and prevention.

“Virginians are losing their lives every day to cheap, potent heroin and tools to hold dealers and traffickers accountable are a critical part of addressing this problem, along with education, prevention, and treatment,” said  Herring.

In the last year and a half, Attorney General Herring and his team have worked with local and federal partners to prosecute more than 28 cases against dealers and traffickers. These cases involved more than 95 kilograms of heroin, or approximately 238,500 daily doses, with an estimated street value of more than $19 million.

His office has also created a documentary called “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” which features Virginians telling their own stories of addiction overdose, and recovery. The documentary includes the stories of young people who tragically lost their lives to heroin overdose.