02/26/2024
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A Staff Report

Raleigh, North Carolina- In a significant move aimed at combatting the alarming rise in drug-related fatalities, North Carolina’s General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 189, which has now been signed into law by NC Governor Roy Copper. The legislation, driven by a collaboration between lawmakers and law enforcement agencies, revises existing statutes pertaining to “Death by Distribution” of controlled substances. According to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department, this crucial step in the fight against drug-related deaths has garnered strong support from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, highlighting its high-priority status.

The passage of Senate Bill 189 signifies a collective commitment to addressing the grave consequences of drug distribution, mainly when it results in loss of life. The bill introduces key changes to the existing legal framework.

Among the noteworthy provisions of Senate Bill 189 are:

1. Stricter Penalties: The bill strengthens penalties for individuals found guilty of distributing controlled substances that lead to a fatal overdose. These penalties are intended to serve as a deterrent against drug dealers who knowingly engage in activities that can result in death.

2. Enhanced Law Enforcement Powers: The legislation empowers law enforcement agencies to take more proactive measures in tracking down and prosecuting those responsible for distributing drugs that lead to fatalities. This includes expanded investigatory tools and resources.

3. Increased Accountability: Senate Bill 189 underscores the importance of holding drug dealers accountable for their actions by imposing harsher penalties. This accountability extends not only to those directly involved in distribution but also to individuals associated with the distribution network.

4. Education and Prevention: The bill recognizes the need for a multifaceted approach to address the opioid crisis. It allocates resources for education and prevention programs aimed at reducing the demand for controlled substances and promoting awareness of the dangers associated with their use.

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has been a vocal advocate for Senate Bill 189, emphasizing the critical role that law enforcement plays in safeguarding communities from the devastating impact of drug-related deaths. Their support underscores the urgency of addressing the ongoing opioid crisis, which has claimed countless lives across the state.

As the legislation goes into effect, North Carolina law enforcement agencies will have a more potent set of tools to combat controlled substance distribution, especially when it leads to fatalities. The hope is that these measures will not only serve as a deterrent but also contribute to saving lives and curbing the opioid epidemic.

Members of the public, local news media, and communities are encouraged to review the attached news release for a more comprehensive understanding of the changes brought about by Senate Bill 189. 

Below is a related press release.

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