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The Scoop - Murder charge is too tough
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Two Warren County residents were charged earlier this month with second-degree murder for allegedly providing drugs which led to two overdose deaths.

At the risk of siding with drug dealers, I’m not so sure I agree with this relatively new state law which went into effect July 1, 2018. The law allows prosecutors to pursue second-degree murder if fentanyl is found in the victim’s system.

The logic behind the law makes perfect sense. Drug use has long been a problem and it’s only getting deadlier with the introduction of fentanyl, a powerful painkiller.

As we’ve reported in a number of newspaper articles, drugs such as meth, cocaine, heroin and even marijuana are now being laced with fentanyl to intensify the high. It’s said when drug users take their normal amount, and fentanyl is mixed in without their knowledge, it can produce fatal consequences.

Obviously, this whole scenario is overflowing with poor judgment. Using drugs and selling drugs are not only ill-advised choices for physical and mental well-being, they are both against the law and punishable by jail time.

My argument is this. Children are taught in school at a very young age that they should avoid doing drugs. It was beloved First Lady Nancy Reagan who started the “Just Say No” campaign and we’ve encouraged kids to say no ever since.

I remember when I was in school seeing the freeze-dried lung presentation. One lung, which was black and decayed, was from a 20-year smoker. The other lung, which was pink and healthy, was from someone who had never smoked.

Don’t smoke was the rallying cry and that later became a cry not to use drugs, or drink and drive. I must have seen a dozen videos in my school career from Mothers Against Drunk Driving featuring a smashed car with a deep voice intoning “Don’t drink and drive.”

These are all meaningful messages, no doubt. Our children don’t need to be drinking and driving. They don’t need to be doing drugs. These are messages that we all should hear and remember, not just while we’re sitting in school.

With the constant emphasis to not do drugs, a person should fully realize the dangers. Everyone should know if they’re going to do drugs – especially harder drugs like meth, heroin, or cocaine – there could be negative results.

This could include a drug arrest, the loss of a job if you fail a drug test, or even the loss of your life. I think it’s safe to say these dangers are well-known by everyone.

So why is it someone else’s fault if you voluntarily decide to take an illegal drug like heroin? You’ve been told since grade school this is bad and yet you’re doing it anyway on your own free will. At what point is a person responsible for their own actions?

I think drug dealers should be punished to the full extent of the law, but I don’t think that full extent should include the option of a second-degree murder charge.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.