Illinois law enforcement agencies, like most others across the country, are fighting an uphill battle against drugs in their communities. Unfortunately, authorities may overlook the fact that many involved in drug crimes need treatment for their addiction instead of incarceration for their offenses. One particularly disturbing criminal charge dating back to the 1980s holds responsible anyone who gives drugs to someone who then suffers a fatal overdose.

An 18-year-old man is currently facing drug-induced homicide charges after he allegedly purchased and shared heroin with his friend. When the friend overdosed in the basement of his parents’ house, the man called 911, but emergency responders could not save his friend’s life. Because the man had purchased the heroin used in the fatal overdose, police arrested him. This is not an isolated incident.

Apparently, some Illinois counties prosecute about 10 people a year for drug-induced homicide. One woman called 911 and attempted CPR when her friend stopped breathing after using heroin the woman had given him. Despite her efforts to save her friend, the woman was charged and sentenced to seven years in prison. She and others feel that aggressive prosecution for drug-induced homicide will not deter the use of heroin, but it may make people less likely to call for help if their friends overdose.

Facing any drug charges is a serious matter, the outcome of which can affect the rest of one’s life. Having effective legal counsel from the earliest moments after an arrest can improve one’s chances of a more favorable outcome. An attorney with extensive experience in defending those charged with drug crimes can provide an advantage.