Drug overdose deaths are becoming more common in America’s large cities and suburbs. One reason for this trend is that street drugs such as heroin have become more potent and “pure” in recent years. Additionally, certain prescription drugs used to treat street-drug addiction are sometimes abused with fatal consequences.
In response to the trend of drug-related deaths, police in Wisconsin and around the country are beginning to crack down on individuals who supply drugs to those who later die as a result of injecting them. As just one example, a Wisconsin man now faces drug charges for supplying a now-deceased friend with a drug used to treat heroin addiction.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the 43-year-old man faces up to six years in prison if convicted for delivery of a controlled substance. Police say the man supplied a friend with suboxone, which resulted in the man’s death less than 24 hours later.
Suboxone is made up of two main substances: naloxone, which helps stop an opiate overdose; and buprenorphine, which helps treat heroin addiction by alleviating the symptoms caused by opiate addiction.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the defendant went to visit the victim and the victim’s brother on a day in July. As the three men sat drinking alcohol together, the defendant allegedly gave the victim a piece of thin, blue paper and told him to ingest it; saying it would make him feel better.
The defendant then left, and the victim’s brother awoke the next morning to find the victim slumped over dead at the kitchen table. The medical examiner later determined that the man died from ingesting buprenorphine.
When it comes to death by overdose or other drug use, prosecutors are quick to go after those who supplied the drugs. This is true even when the victim voluntarily chose to take a given drug, which is often the case.
Prosecutors are rarely lenient, which is why anyone facing drug charges needs the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Milwaukee man charged in prescription drug death,” Ashley Luthern, Sept. 13, 2013