Have you ever let someone you know take a pain pill you were prescribed? Have you ever shared drugs with someone when you were using them yourself? If the other person ends up overdosing, you could find yourself in a position where you’re charged with a drug crime and causing their death.
In the past, people have been charged for involuntary manslaughter over the deaths of people they provided with drugs.
How the law allows for serious charges when an overdose happens
If you supply drugs to someone who later uses them and overdoses, then you could be on the hook for their death as their dealer — even if you gave them the drugs for free.
Many people argue that this isn’t fair, because it isn’t up to you to decide what another person will do with those drugs once they are in their possession. That being said, the law isn’t as straightforward. You could end up facing charges for selling or distributing drugs, transporting drugs and for the other person’s death.
The laws that let prosecutors do this were designed to catch real drug dealers — but they have been turned against friends who shared drugs with their friends, addicts who shared drugs with another addict and family members who just passed a few spare pain pills onto another family member in a time of need.
How are overdose deaths charged?
Most overdose deaths are charged as second-degree murders, manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. No matter how a death is charged, the reality is that the charges are likely to have a significant impact on your life.
It’s important to look into options for defending yourself, reducing the potential penalties and protecting your rights. Our website has more information on drug overdosing and what you can do if someone you know has overdosed after receiving medications or drugs that you provided.