Dealers Whose Drugs Kill Now Face Possibility of a Life Sentence

Kristen’s law

Drug dealers have been getting away with their part in fatal drug overdoses for way too long. Too often, dealers knowingly sell drugs riddled with fentanyl and other dangerous substances that result in the death of hundreds if not thousands of users… all depending on how far-reaching their specific batch was. Since the opioid crisis began many addicts have lost their lives after shooting up or even snorting a deadly dose of fentanyl. Their families are left to pick up the pieces while experiencing some of the most intense grief possible.

In the past, all of the responsibility got put onto the addict and their behaviors and actions but none of the responsibility seemed to have been placed on the suppliers of the drug. Now, while the addict definitely has their own responsibility in the situation, the ones pushing these harmful chemicals need to be held accountable for their actions. And that opinion resulted in the enacting of Kristen’s Law.

Kristen’s Law was named for Kristen Coutu. She, unfortunately, lost her battle with addiction in 2014 after overdosing on fentanyl that a dealer had sold to her as heroin. This law was signed by the Rhode Island governor last June and it allows for life sentences for drug dealers whose drugs resulted in a person fatally overdosing.

Last week, a drug dealer out of Westport, RI was charged in the overdose death of an addict he sold drugs to. The charge was “delivering a controlled substance that resulted in death.” Kristen’s Law is being used for the first time, according to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office.

I think this is a good step in some sort of right direction. While the end user is the one who is going to ultimately endure the consequences of their decision to use drugs, I don’t think dealers should go unpunished, especially if their drugs kill someone. I don’t necessarily think we can arrest our way out of the drug crisis, but dealers do need to be held extremely accountable, especially if someone dies.

All of this is yet just another indication of how bad our drug problem is. We’re at the point where it’s been found necessary to enact specific laws to use in extreme situations where individuals lose their lives to drug use. I’m glad Kristen’s Law exists because I personally believe everyone needs to be held accountable for the addiction problem, especially those who are making a handsome profit off the suffering of others. If you sell someone a drug that winds up killing them because of its extreme potency, I think the punishment should fit the crime. You take a life, you spend yours in prison.

And while all this is going on and we’re having a conversation about the appropriate justice actions to take on drug dealers, people around the country are still succumbing to their addictions. While Kristen’s Law is a good step, there’s still tons of work to be done in order to get the crisis under control.

Sources Used:


Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.