House Bill 16-1344 seeks to add a “special offender” category applying to individuals who supply an illicit substance when its use results in death. Additionally, this bill seeks to appropriate up to five years worth of additional funds toward corrections for anticipated increases in costs associated with longer sentencing lengths as a direct result from this bill. Like other legislation that looks to criminalize individuals involved with drug use, this bill will do nothing to decrease overdoses or prevent drug abuse. Instead of helping reduce instances of drug-related death, the new bill is likely to discourage individuals from seeking help in an emergency situation for fear of having to report their supplier and contains no preventative or harm reduction measures to directly decrease abuse and overdose. Given there are already two criminal charges dealers may face in this scenario, the new legislation is harmful and unnecessary.
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