B.C. looking at manslaughter charges for fentanyl dealers in fatal overdoses
The provincial government is considering tougher punishments for drug dealers pushing opioids amid B.C.’s overdose crisis.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the NDP is looking to give Crown counsel the ability to charge accused fentanyl traffickers with manslaughter.
“We strongly believe that if you’re dealing fentanyl, you’re dealing death,” Farnworth said. “You should be facing much more severe penalties such as manslaughter charges.”
In October of last year, Edmonton saw its first charge of manslaughter related to a fentanyl overdose, and since then a number of alleged fentanyl dealers in Ontario and Alberta are facing manslaughter charges.
Farnworth wouldn’t give a timeline for any legislative changes, but said the government is considering giving prosecutors more leeway in how they charge suspected dealers.
“We’re working on a package of initiatives to unveil in the weeks and months ahead.”
The BC Coroners Service says more than 1,000 people have died from suspected drug overdoses so far this year, more than in all of 2016.
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