U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice and New Hampshire’s Attorney General, Joe Foster, will work together to prosecute drug overdoses as crime scenes. The goal is to charge drug dealers with homicide, when an overdose death can be linked to a drug sale.
The collaboration will expand resources for state prosecutors and allow New Hampshire drug dealers to be charged under federal law, which has tougher penalties for drug crimes.
Still, Rice says cracking down on dealers should not be interpreted as a move toward criminalizing addiction.
"It's true as many have said that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem," she says. "However, the prosecution of these cases and of those criminally responsible for overdose deaths does play a role here."
Foster announced his effort to pursue such cases last December. Although no such prosecutions have taken place yet, Rice and Foster say their offices are both reviewing ongoing cases.