Mom’s grief spurs NY bill targeting opioid dealers in deaths

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COLONIE, N.Y.  — A mother’s grief is behind a bill in New York’s legislature that would allow prosecutors to charge dealers of heroin and other opioids with homicide when their wares cause an overdose death.

Patty Farrell began pushing for the law after she found her 18-year-old daughter Laree dead of an overdose four years ago.

“Laree’s Law” would create a new criminal classification of “homicide by sale of an opiate-controlled substance.” The crime would be punishable by 15 to 25 years in prison.

The bill has passed the state Senate and awaits action by the Assembly.

Proponents say tougher penalties would help reduce deadly overdoses. But critics say the focus should be on prevention; they say similar laws in more than 20 other states have been ineffective.