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Bill seeks to create manslaughter charges for drug trafficking leading to overdose

Another 23 states have such a law on the books and more states are currently considering similar legislation.

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A fatal overdose could lead to manslaughter charges for the individual distributing the drugs if a bill filed by Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, can make it through the Legislature this year.

The House Judiciary Committee gave the bill a favorable report last week after Pringle shared a story of a friend’s son, who he said was pressured by a dealer into relapsing and then died from a fatal overdose form fentanyl-laced oxycodone.

“The only thing they could charge that man with was trafficking drugs,” Pringle told the committee.

The bill creates a new qualifying definition for manslaughter to include the distribution of a drug that leads to death. 

Alabama isn’t the first state to consider this law.

So far, 23 states have a law to this effect. Arkansas and Arizona are also considering similar bills and Wyoming’s Legislature just denied their own version of the law.

A record 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021.

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Pringle’s bill made it through the House last session but died before it could be considered by the full Senate.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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