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Bill on Penalties for Selling Drugs to Children Passes Senate

A bill introduced by Senator Jack M. Martins that increases the penalty for criminal sale of a controlled substance to minors under the age of 14 has passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support.

In Nassau County, heroin use has been on the increase in recent years so much so that it has been called an epidemic. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice have announced a war against the drug with a priority on raising awareness to the problem.

“In Nassau County we have been at the forefront of combating the Heroin, OxyContin and now Opana epidemics,” County Executive Mangano said. “This legislation is a critical component that provides law enforcement officials with an additional tool to deter drug dealers from preying on our most vulnerable and impressionable residents, our children.  I applaud the efforts of Senator Jack Martins for recognizing and addressing this life altering issue.”

Senator Martins’ bill creates the crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child in the first degree. When an adult over 18 knowingly and unlawfully sells a controlled substance to a minor under the age of 14, that person will be charged with a Class A-II felony.

“I applaud Senator Martins advocacy in increasing the penalty for adults when they prey on children,” Mineola School District Superintendent Michael Nagler said. “I agree that adults that specifically target our young people should have harsher penalties”

Under current law, that person would be charged with a Class B felony.

“This bill will result in another tool to help in the battle to protect our children. Drug dealers prey upon our young people and must be dealt with harshly,” said Senator Martins. “We need to use education, treatment and enforcement to protect our young people from drug addiction. This bill provides assistance to law enforcement.”

“It’s going to be a great tool in their arsenal to combat Heroin. It will help protect our children from these predators,” said Tom Willdigg, president of the Nassau County Detectives Association.

There is a companion bill that has been introduced in the Assembly. The bill would take effect on September 1 of this year.