Law enforcement officials are turning to the courts as they look to turn the tide on a drug overdose epidemic. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says it will be increasingly common to bring murder charges against drug dealers and manufacturers involved in an overdose death.
“We actually have a case right now regarding a fentanyl death," said Kilmartin. "And that’s in the court process. And we’ll see what the outcome of the case is. It’s the first case ever prosecuted in the state like that so we’re hopeful.”
Murder cases involving overdose deaths are on the rise around the country. At the same time, public health officials worry that fear of prosecution could keep people from calling 9-1-1 in an overdose emergency. Rhode Island's Good Samaritan Act, which protects against such prosecution, expired earlier this year.