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"Retribution, Not a Solution": Drug-Induced Homicide in North Carolina


Two men - we 'll call them John and Will - share an apartment. Unfortunately, both men are addicted to heroin. The men are struggling to get by. Neither one of them would consider themselves "drug dealers," but both have made minor sales here and there to help support their drug habit, and both have had their share of run-ins with the law. One evening, John tells Will he is going to pick up some heroin, and John asks Will if he wants any. Will decides to chip in; he gives some money to John. John takes the money, pools it with his own, and travels across town to his dealer. He picks up the drugs, travels back to the apartment, and hands Will his share of the drugs. Tragically, Will overdoses, and cannot be revived. Do John's actions constitute murder? Or perhaps the better question-should John 's actions be prosecuted as murder?

North Carolina, along with the rest of the nation, is facing an opioid crisis. Policymakers and law enforcement are scrambling to find a solution. Holding dealers of illegal drugs responsible for the deaths of overdose victims has been one of North Carolina's answers-this Comment analyzes North Carolina's Drug-Induced Homicide laws.