Increases the penalty for the sale of an opioid if the use of such opioid causes the death of the user.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to deaths caused by the sale of opioids
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To deter the future sale of opioids by increasing the penalty for the sale of an opioid if the use of such opioid causes the death of the user.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 establishes the name "Laree's Law" for the legislation.
Section 2 amends subdivision 4 to section 125.20 and adds a new subdivision 5 to section 125.20 of the penal law to increase the penalty for the deliberate sale of an opioid that results in death to manslaughter in the first degree.
Section 3 is the effective date of the bill.
JUSTIFICATION: Heroin addiction has been an ongoing problem since the drug was first created over 100 years ago. During the 1960s and 1970s, heroin abuse in New York was viewed largely an urban problem, and was gradually, though not entirely, displaced as other drugs like cocaine, and particularly crack cocaine, became available in the 1980s.
From the 1990s to the present these drugs were, in turn, largely displaced by prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone as the drugs of choice, due to their availability and presumed "safety" because they were, after all, prescribed by physicians. The general problem of opioid addiction spread out to rural and suburban areas, becoming a major national issue. Like many states, New York State responded to prescription drug addiction, and the increasing numbers of overdoses and related deaths, with the implementation an enhanced prescription drug monitoring systems designed to eliminate the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. The success of New York's system, commonly known as I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing), has at least in part led to the resurgence of heroin use, due to its relatively low cost and high availability.
Presently, the ranks of heroin users now include teenagers, and young to middle-aged adults of all socio-economic backgrounds who are looking for their fix now that prescription drugs are less accessible. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates that the rate of unintentional overdoses from opioids in New York City increased by 65% from 2005 to 2011 and, according to the Trust for America's Health, drug overdoses throughout New York State have increased by 56% from 1999 to 2013. One of the most recent victims was of this rising epidemic was Laree Farrell-Lincoln, who died of a heroin overdose in June of 2013, just prior to her nineteenth birthday.
The growing problem of heroin addiction is first and foremost an issue of public health, and should be addressed through prevention, treatment
and adequate support for the victims and their families. But with the drug so readily available, strengthening New York State law with regard to the sale of heroin that results in the death of the user is a critical component of a comprehensive approach to a problem that is approaching epidemic levels.
Currently in New York, the penalty for selling drugs varies from a class D felony for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, to a class A-I felony for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, depending on the type and weight of the drug involved.There is no additional penalty when such sales cause a death; the extent of any additional penalty is the charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide, a class E felony, punishable by up to four years imprisonment. Laree's Law will increase the penalty for the deliberate sale of an opioid that results in death to manslaughter in the first degree, a class B felony, with a sentence of up to 25 years.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill - 2014
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7100 IN SENATE April 28, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sens. BRESLIN, DILAN, HOYLMAN, KRUEGER, PARKER, STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to deaths caused by the sale of opioids THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Laree's Law." S 2. Subdivision 4 of section 125.20 of the penal law, as added by chapter 477 of the laws of 1990, is amended and a new subdivision 5 is added to read as follows: 4. Being eighteen years old or more and with intent to cause physical injury to a person less than eleven years old, the defendant recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of serious physical injury to such person and thereby causes the death of such person
[.]; OR 5. HE INTENTIONALLY AND UNLAWFULLY SELLS AN OPIOID ANALGESIC AND THE INGESTION OF SUCH OPIOID ANALGESIC CAUSES THE DEATH OF ANOTHER PERSON. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14028-03-4