Dec 11, 2015 3:04 PM

In overdose deaths, AG to pursue murder charges for dealers

The Associated Press

CONCORD — New Hampshire's attorney general plans to more aggressively pursue murder charges against dealers of drugs, particularly fentanyl, that cause overdose deaths.

Nearly half of the state's drug deaths so far this year have resulted from people taking fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that's now being manufactured for the purpose of illicit drug use. It is at least 40 times as powerful as heroin.

Prosecutors can already pursue a "death resulting" charge against dealers under the state's controlled drug act, a charge that can carry life in prison, but it's been rarely used. Now, law enforcement will begin treating heroin overdoses as crime scenes and prosecutors are being encouraged to pursue up to second degree murder charges when a dealer can be clearly linked to a death.

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