The New York Times
Prosecutors are increasingly treating overdose deaths as homicides, but they aren’t just going after dealers. Friends, family and fellow users are going to prison.
None of these survivors intended to cause a death. In fact, each could easily have been the one who ended up dead. But all were charged with murder.
Charge: third-degree murder
When Kimberly Elkins needed relief from chronic pain, her fiancé, Aaron Rost, would tape a fentanyl patch to her chest or upper arm.
Mark S. Rubin, the county attorney who brought charges against Ms. Elkins, compared overdose prosecutions to fatal collisions, saying that prosecuting those involved was “painful” but “part of our responsibility.”
Charge: drug delivery resulting in death
The concept of overdose prosecutions took hold after the cocaine-related death in 1986 of Len Bias, the college basketball star, two days after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics. A friend, who called 911 when Mr. Bias collapsed, was accused of providing the cocaine, but was acquitted.