NH split on charging drug dealers for overdose deaths - 343 participants

May 25, 2016

In December, Attorney General Joe Foster announced his office was going to aggressively pursue holding drug dealers legally responsible for overdoses. Referred to as “death resulting” and less serious than a murder charge, it could still result in life in prison. Read more about this issue. On May 25, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Do you support charging drug dealers for overdose deaths?”

Do you support charging drug dealers for overdose deaths?

Overdose Death Murder Charges NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 343 participants gave 893 responses.

A total of 80% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 20% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 893 responses from 343 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

Yes: A slight majority, at 51% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, supported charging drug dealers for overdose deaths.

  • “These dealers are selling an illegal drug that they know is killing people. If I gave your child something that I knew could kill them and did, would you let me off?”
  • “Drugs are an addiction and addicts need help. It's the drug dealers who are supplying then. If they didn't sell them, then the addicts couldn't buy it.”
  • “The sooner we get tough on purveyors of poison the better off we will be.”

No: A minority, at 49% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, opposed charging drug dealers for overdose deaths.

  • “Charging dealers for overdose deaths is just one more element of risk to the dealer that makes heroin that much more profitable and insures that people continue to sell it.”
  • “People are going to find it regardless—no matter who you put in jail.”
  • “Unless the dealer is forcing it into the person's system, it was the choice of the person using the drug.”

Other: As noted above, 20% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Broadening the discussion: “Are they going to charge the doctors and big pharma for getting people hooked in the first place?”
  • Questioning the nature of addiction: “Anecdotal evidence isn't good evidence. Most people could use heroin and never become addicted to it.”
  • Expressing concern at how addiction is treated: “I support the end of handing out Narcan to [drug addicts]. It's just a free pass for them to go out and get high again. Where's the help in that?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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