House passes Pelath bill targeting drug dealers who cause death

January 29, 2018 Scott Pelath

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members today approved legislation co-authored by State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) that is designed to target drug dealers who cause death.

House Bill 1359, which cleared the House by an 85-12 margin, would increase criminal sentences for drug dealers whose illegal products like heroin and methamphetamine cause death. Joining Pelath on the measure are Republican State Reps. Greg Steuerwald from Avon, Tom Washburne from Evansville, and Kevin Mahan from Hartford City.

In his recent State of the State Address, Governor Eric Holcomb embraced the bill’s contents as a centerpiece of his agenda.

“Like everyone else in our region, I have had enough of hearing about one drug overdose after another,” said Pelath. “Most realize that addiction treatment is the final answer to this scourge, but we have to keep up the heat on dealers, suppliers, and drug cooks as well.

“One insane and insidious aspect of the illegal drug market is that deaths will often increase demand for a product,” he continued. “If your drug kills someone, you should face a longer sentence. It might make some think twice. It might force others to rat out the biggest suppliers above them.”

The measure now moves on to the Indiana Senate for further consideration.