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New Indiana law holds drug dealers accountable for overdose deaths

Posted: 10:32 PM, Jul 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-03 12:44:56Z

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. -- A mother whose son died due to a drug overdose hopes that a new Indiana law meant to hold drug dealers more accountable will help other families from suffering the way she has.

Under the law, which went into effect July 1, if someone sells drugs to a person who overdoses – that dealer can face up to 40 years in prison.

Jeanette Mails said her son, Tyler, struggled with drug addiction for nearly six years.

He died of a drug overdose eight months ago from heroin laced with fentanyl.

READ | These new laws went into effect on July 1

“He got drugs from someone who laced it up with something else,” said Mails. “That is deadly and he – in a sense – killed my son. It was Tyler’s choice to use it... but if there were no drug dealers there wouldn’t be anywhere for them to get them and maybe they would have a better chance at sobriety.”

Mails knows the new law won’t help bring her son back, but she wants those who provide the drugs to be held accountable so that other lives can be saved.

“If that person had been held accountable for something before him he wouldn’t have gotten it from him and he might still be here today,” said Mails.

A new law that took effect July 1st aims to do just that - now imposing harsher penalties on drug dealers if a person overdoses and dies on those drugs. 

But Johnson County Prosecutor Bradley Cooper says it's going to be difficult to prove.

"You have to actually prove that the drugs from a person delivered to the other person was actually used in the actual cause of death,” said Cooper.” Typically, drug users get drugs from multiple sources. There's typically not a witness to this going on. If this person overdosed and died, that person won't be a witness to us."

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