Throughout my law enforcement career I have witnessed society take the liberal approach to dealing with drugs of abuse by slowly reducing the penalty for use and trafficking in drugs. When I first started, possession of marijuana was a felony of the fourth degree. Ohio at the time had no felony five category.
Ohio made possession of marijuana a civil offense with no jail time possible for mere possession. Making it a minor misdemeanor, a lot of police officers considered it a waste of time to enforce the law so just emptied the baggie in the wind.
Possession of heroin and cocaine is now a felony five and is often reduced to a misdemeanor of the first degree in plea agreements. Fentanyl laced heroin, is what are killing all the heroin drug addicts. About 2 milliliters of Fentanyl is fatal to most humans. Some heroin overdose subjects may take seven or more doses of Narcan to counter effect the overdose.
So what can be done to go after the dealer who gives a lethal dose? The Ohio Revised Code has a section dealing with such a case. ORC 2925.02 Corrupting another with drugs, specifically covers this and does carry a severe penalty.
Section (A) No person shall knowingly do any of the following:
By force or threat of force, or deception, administer to another or induce or cause another to use controlled substance.
By any means, administer or furnish to another or induce or cause another to use a controlled substance with purpose to cause serious physical harm to the other person, or with purpose to cause the other person to become drug dependent.
By any means, administer or furnish to another or induce or cause another to use a controlled substance, and thereby cause serious physical harm to the other persons or cause the other person to become drug dependent.
Depending on the severity of the crime a violation of this section can be a felony one, felony two or felony three. A felony one carries three to eleven years and with certain specifications up to ten years can be added.
Since drug addicts do not want to give up their sources, it can be a hard case to prove in court. Especially when the addict suffers severe brain damage or dies. In some cases addicts will share a syringe and blood left on the syringe may identify the other person through DNA.
I remember several cases where the person who supplied the drugs did go to prison and there are multiple cases that I got nowhere and the case finally went cold. This can be very hard on family and friends to not have the drug supplier brought to justice.
A lot of inmates in the jail deal drugs to fund their own habits and are scared to death that one of their friends or even themselves will die from a lethal overdose. But the pull to use the drugs outweighs their fear and the circle continues. As with alcohol, smoking and overeating, the person has to decide for themselves that they are going to quit.