Many drug dealers use their customers to test the strength of the synthetic opioids they sell, the Associated Press reports. They want the drugs to be strong enough to keep their customers coming back, but not strong enough to kill them. Local dealers take fentanyl made in Chinese labs and use powders such as baby formula to increase its volume and street value. “It is sick and awful that dealers are treating people this way,” said Bradley Ray, Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Research at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, who studies overdose prevention. “It is sad that things have come to this. (Testers’) addictions will push them to take that; they’re not thinking clearly.”
Some prosecutors are trying to fight the opioid epidemic with homicide-related charges against drug dealers in cases involving overdoses, The New York Times reports. These cases are difficult, prosecutors told the newspaper. They must use toxicology reports to tie medical evidence about the drugs to the fatal overdose. They also have to present evidence that a dealer knew the drugs’ risks but provided them anyway, which is hard to prove. Dealers’ lawyers argue their clients want to keep customers alive because it is good for business. Juries in these cases must determine whether drug dealers are predators or are addicted to drugs themselves. They also must decide if a dealer should be held responsible for the death of a person who took drugs they knew were dangerous.
Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic. The merged organization will be called: