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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson - February 5, 2010

Johnson, Weisenberg and Rice Announce Legislation To Combat Heroin

Senator Craig M. Johnson and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg joined with Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice to announce tough new legislation to help combat the heroin epidemic on Long Island and hold drug dealers accountable for the deaths and destruction that they cause.

This measure (S.6418/ A.9522), which was drafted in consultation with District Attorney Rice’s office, will toughen existing laws to make it so a person who sells a controlled substance that causes a death may be charged with manslaughter. Under current law, a dealer cannot be charged in relation to a heroin user’s death unless the dealer is physically involved in the injection of the drug. Under the proposed legislation, the statute for Manslaughter in the Second Degree would be amended to include anyone age 18 and older, and with a prior drug conviction, who knowingly sells a controlled substance to another person that is consumed by such person or another person and such controlled substance contributes to the death of such person or other person. The increased penalty, a C felony, is in direct response to the rise of heroin use, and heroin-related deaths, on Long Island – particularly among youths and young adults, Senator Johnson said.

This measure complements a bill (S. 6361) recently introduced by Senator Brian X. Foley, (D-Blue Point), that will help parents admit minors into detox treatment. Senator Foley is also a co-sponsor of Johnson/ Weisenberg legislation.

“As communities across Long Island struggle to combat the increased flow of heroin and other illegal drugs into our neighborhoods, we must protect our children and families,” said Senator Foley. “This legislation will send a clear signal to drug dealers that we will not allow them to declare open season on our youth. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Craig Johnson, Assemblyman Weisenberg, and District Attorney Rice on this critical issue.”