I would see drug overdose as a sign of suicide not homicide. The person who gave that individual the culprit drug should not be charged for murder whatsoever, it’s like saying we should also condemn people who send text messages to friends or relatives who are driving and get into car crashes because of just answering that one text. The person answering that text was aware of the high risk of getting into a car crash. People should be aware of their own addiction. People who will get murdered don’t know they will be killed, but the person taking the drug that was handed to them know the consequences that could come afterward. Also, note that the people who are are giving the drug out did not have the main intention to kill anyone let alone force the consumption of it. People still smoke cigarettes even though they are highly aware they are putting themselves at high risk for lung cancer which of course leads to death. Should the gas station clerk be condemned for the death of all the people who smoked those cigars and who have died on lung cancer? Addiction should be mainly focused on instead.
I was surprised to read about the amount of people that have gone to jail because of shared drug overdoses. Obviously, the person is likely to feel morally responsible for the death of their friend or family member after drugs. I think charging them with murder is not a good way to go about fixing drug use and addiction. The person may be responsible for the drugs that their friend overdosed on, but in all cases in the article, they were using the drugs as well. Locking them up in jail won’t fix their addiction, and won’t help combat drug use well either. I think a rehab facility would be much better at helping with drug addiction. When you put them in a jail cell to sit there and feel responsible for the death of someone else, they will eventually get out and rely on the same habits to help them cope.
Morally the distributor should feel some guilt knowing they provided a substance that took a life, yes. However, the person who overdosed willingly asked for such substance and abused it. The problem with charging distributors with homicides is that it doesn’t justify intent. It was not the distributors intent to kill the person he was selling it to, just like it wasn’t the intent of the user to overdose. Homicide in our society translates to murder and it is my belief that the distributor is not a murder. I would understand if these cases were prosecuted as manslaughter’s because these crimes lack intent to murder.
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Felicia Nimue Ackerman (Brown)
Neera Badhwar (Oklahoma)
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