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Our Opinion: Broad treatment needed

3.25.15 – The South Bend Tribune

A bill that would have toughened penalties against those who supply heroin used in fatal overdoses appears to have stalled in the Indiana General Assembly this session.

That’s too bad, because a hearing on House Bill 1295, authored by Osceola Republican Timothy Wesco, would have at least drawn attention to a growing epidemic in our area.

Several northern Indiana counties, including St. Joseph and LaPorte, have been facing ever-increasing death tolls linked to heroin and other related opiates. In St. Joseph County, 19 people died from heroin overdoses in 2014 while LaPorte County recorded 17 overdoses in the same year.

Wesco’s bill would have created a new felony level for manufacturing, financing and delivering any amount of heroin that causes the death of a user.

The bill has its supporters who say it would require dealers who provide the drug to overdose victims to serve substantial prison time. But there are others who believe existing laws may already provide the means to pursue harsher sentences.

Read more here.