Citizens divided on whether drug dealers should be charged with second degree murder – 517 citizens, 835 responses

Dec 09, 2015

Recently, New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster announced that his office would begin charging drug dealers with second-degree murder if the drugs they sold resulted in an overdose death. He said the change is a response to the state's increasing heroin and opioid problem and cited his belief that the potential for murder charges will deter dealers from selling dangerous drugs. Live Free or Die Alliance Facebook members, however, were divided on the issue when asked, “Do you support charging drug dealers with second-degree murder for selling drugs that lead to an overdose death?” 

In answering the question, a total of 84% of respondents answered directly or with a concurrence. Out of these responses, a 55% majority said they did not support charging drug dealers with second-degree murder for selling drugs that lead to an overdose death with 45% in favor of it. Of the remaining respondents, 14% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 2% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 517 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 835 responses. 

For most of the majority opinion, the logic behind charging drug dealers with second-degree murder was flawed. One woman reasoned, “You don't blame the guy who sells someone a knife when a person gets stabbed and you don't blame the guy in a gun shop when someone gets shot. Many agreed, including one respondent referred to it as a “major slippery slope.” “If this were good logic, then gun salespeople could be charged with murder if the gun they sold illegally kills someone—hardware store rope salesperson, vodka salespeople, etc,” she added.

Many who expressed support for how drug dealers will be charged in such cases, however, said the punishment fits the crime. One gentleman rhetorically noted, “What if doctors overprescribed and created 1-2 deaths per week? Do you think they should get charged? Yes.” Several respondents cited personal experience, including one gentleman who noted, “My cousin died from an overdose and I would love to see his dealer in prison, [but] she is still selling dope to everyone and will probably be responsible for killing more people in the future.”

For respondents who did not provide a direct “yes” or “no” to the question, some expressed their belief that doctors and pharmaceutical companies should also be considered “drug dealers,” while some questioned if the proposed punishment would deter drug dealers from selling drugs. One gentleman rhetorically asked, “Is the penalty for a crime supposed to be a deterrent to the crime itself? If so, do you believe that drug dealers fear punishment for the crime they are committing?”

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion for this question. 

Do you support pressing murder charges against drug dealers? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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