Accidental Overdose or Murder – A Tragic Double Standard

Rachel's Angels Opinion
Author: Cindy D | Posted: 07/05/2023 - 09:12:00 - Opinion | Fentanyl |

Let’s take a moment and consider two different scenarios:

Scenario #1: Bob doesn’t like Sam. Bob knowingly slips drain cleaner or another poison into Sam’s drink which causes Sam’s death.

Scenario #2: Jay and Erin are friends. Jay is also Erin’s dealer whom she buys Percocet or Xanax from when she’s feeling stressed. Jay knowingly slips fentanyl (a potentially lethal, tightly controlled Opioid) into one of the pills Erin ingests which causes Erin’s death.

Both scenarios have the same tragic outcome, but their manners of death are considered different. Why?

The death in Scenario #1 is labeled “homicide” or “murder,” while the death in Scenario #2 is labeled “accidental overdose.” But, in both cases, the victims unknowingly ingested something that was knowingly inserted with malicious intent. Why is there a double standard? Why in Scenario #2 does the victim take the blame?

Let's put aside for a moment the apparent stigma associated with illicit drug use. Yes, in our examples above, Erin did knowingly take an illicit substance. However, that substance was expected to provide no more than a temporary high. In the end, why does she take full blame? Was she more deserving of death than Sam because she was already playing with fire?

Absolutely. Not.

To increase highs and create stronger dependency on product, drug dealers are intentionally cutting/lacing illicit drugs with fentanyl. This in turn is having a devastating effect on our youth and young adults—resulting in thousands of deaths monthly.

The argument, "well, they're just druggies. They shouldn't have been doing it in the first place…" is invalid. Not everyone who dies of an overdose is a “druggie.”  These deaths are increasingly common among teens, college students, and young adults with no prior history of drug use—they’re simply kids who made a bad decision that wound up costing them the ultimate price.

The legal repercussions for the causes of death are night and day. While murder/homicide results in prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, an accidental overdose results in nothing more than some paperwork that gets filed away and forgotten.

We need to turn the tide of mislabeling the deaths of these victims. We need to raise awareness and advocate on their behalf. It’s not accidental when someone dies by ingesting something unknowingly laced with fentanyl. It’s murder.

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About Rachel's Angels

Rachel's Angels is a non-profit organization focused on stopping children from experimenting and becoming addicted to drugs. It's our mission to:

  • Impact the epidemic in northeast Ohio through juvenile anti-drug awareness and education programs
  • Connect those who are currently using drugs with services designed to help them sooner, not later
  • Create open communication and dialogue by spreading the word among children, parents, teachers, administrators, and government entities

We WILL help stop the epidemic starting within our own communities–right here, right now.

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