Punishing pushers in overdose deaths

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — West Virginians and Ohioans die regularly, by the hundreds each year, of drug overdoses. Another one occurred Saturday in Weirton, when a young woman perished as a result of injecting heroin into her veins.

But this time, police say they have the perpetrator in custody. He is a 44-year-old Mingo Junction man who allegedly bought heroin, delivered it to the woman, and was with her when she injected herself.

What allegedly happened to her follows a pattern often seen in such deaths. After it became apparent something was wrong, the woman was taken back to her home in Weirton. Six hours later, people there – not the accused man – called 911 for help.

In addition to a heroin-related charge, the man has been accused formally of involuntary manslaughter.

What he did, if police are correct, was provide the dead woman with a substance known to be dangerous – sometimes fatal. Yet for one reason or another, he went ahead and supplied her with the drug.

Often, the motive behind such transactions is profit. Pushers care much more about their ill-gotten gains than about whether they are killing people – as they are, in addition to ruining the lives of those who somehow manage to survive addiction.

Good for Weirton police for arresting the man alleged to have been responsible for the overdose victim’s death.

If convicted, he should be sentenced to the maximum term allowable under the law.

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