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Overdosed & Punished: Drug-Induced-Homicide Charges, the latest Tyranny in U.S. Opioid Genocide

Updated: Jun 25

"Drug Induced Homicide'' has once again become the fodder for writers and district attorney's offices nationwide. With the recent overdose death of HBO's The Wire's star Michael K Williams–(Omar), state prosecutors arrested and charged the three persons responsible for selling the drugs. This perverted turn of events is devastating, ignoring Michael K. Williams' own efforts to end the drug war and mass incarceration. The Wire's creator David Simon weighed in to show his obvious disdain for prosecution that ignores the lessons The Wire spelled out. "The overdose crisis is a public health emergency — one that demands effective responses. … This prosecution and so many others like it desecrate the memory of Michael K. Williams and do not save lives," says Law & Policy.


While Michael K. Williams isn't alive to make his feelings known, as a former addict with three overdoses, the last thing on earth I would want to happen is for my addiction and death to ruin anyone else's lives or put anyone near a prison. No sadder outcome could possibly arise from an overdose death during this year 19 (?) of an overdose epidemic, than to criminalize another person, for a health-related issue. To think incarceration can play any role but a negative one is to ignore the last twenty years of an epidemic, and the 80 years prior that led here.



Police State Visuals


Drug Dealer Number One: Big Pharma/FDA/DEA Take your Pick

It’s infuriating that a government institution which caused this epidemic and killed countless patients, has the gall to go after so-called "drug-dealers," much like other fascist dictatorships. Our regulatory institutions, captured by big pharma, propagated chemical warfare, disguised as healthcare, causing the third or fourth U.S. opioid/opiate epidemic masked as the first, and killing close to 200 Americans daily since 2012. "The leading cause of death in the United States for those under 50 is accidental drug overdose," thanks to pharmaceuticals, ignorance, and criminalization.With drug cartels now pressing their pills into the designs and shapes of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, here lies the real smoking gun. Similar laws like internal possession “criminalize” the user by nature, going as far as to actually arrest the person who overdosed, after reviving them. Talk about insanity.



 


Internal Possession Arrests


Waking up in shock, without a clue where I was or what had happened, the first thing noticeable was pain and a sore throat. The breathing tubes, or stomach pumping devices left me hoarse. Laying on a hospital bed, decked in a gown, and discovering sticky residue on my arms from EKG hookups, I slowly returned to consciousness. No sooner had I come to then I was being discharged and told to leave. Just then, two police officers arrived at my hospital room and informed me I was under arrest. They had spent the night waiting after paramedics revived me with Narcan and delivered me to the emergency room. I spent the next six days laying on a cold-hard concrete floor of a holding cell, barely alive.


Internal Possession is almost unheard of these days however, the legislation remains in many states. Probation Officers used internal possession as a way to arrest and charge probationers with additional crimes for failed drug tests. These charges are rare (and most likely unconstitutional), but to my utter delight, a second accidental overdose led to similar circumstances after the first charge was dropped.


A Police State

Once again I was arrested from the emergency room after a second accidental overdose, this time for possession of paraphernalia found at the scene (of my overdose). I maintain this felony conviction for possession of less than two grams of oxycodone (that temporarily killed me), eventually serving almost four years in prison stemming from the charge. Should we arrest the doctor who prescribed it to me? The pharmacist who filled it? The company who made it? The FDA who approved it?


An URGENT Benzo WARNING:

Both of my overdoses occurred when taking far less than a normal opioid dose, in combination with any benzodiazepine. My first overdose was on Methadone pills and Xanax bars taken orally. The second overdose was Oxycontin and Kolonopin. Benzodiazepines are extremely dangerous, more so than an opioid alone. They also cause death both in use as well as in withdrawal and are a staple in opioid deaths.

Colorado changed laws over the next year or so (2012, while I was in prison), making possession of less than two grams of a controlled substance a misdemeanor, like California. This makes both of my felony arrests from the Emergency Room misdemeanors, but courts do not like retroactive legislation. If you have a felony conviction before the change in law, the felony conviction usually remains.


Arrested from the emergency room for overdosing on prescription drugs. What kind of a nightmare police-state do we live in?

 


DIH Used in Response to Drug (Fentanyl) Hysteria


Only the headlines of a number one overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft of Len Bias and his subsequent cocaine overdose death could spur such brutal legislation, as Drug Induced Homicide. This destructive tactic has become the de facto move once again for state governments in response to fentanyl hysteria. It's a terrifying trend, and a dangerous law in the hands of hypocrites and district attorneys, stemming from our least effective measures to stifle crack cocaine. “Like other carceral responses from that period, it is an outgrowth of the war on drugs and our nation’s punitive turn toward mass incarceration… Between 2012 and 2018 alone, the recorded number of D.I.H. prosecutions jumped from 109 to 696,” as overdose numbers continue to rise unabated.


The federal government and 20 states currently have “drug-induced homicide” laws on their books, which can be applied to anyone in the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or delivery of a controlled substance that causes death (unless you are Big Pharma). What about invented (fentanyl, carfentanil, methadone, etc. etc.)? A vast margin for inclusion (that should start with the FDA, DEA, Wholesale Drug Distributors, and Big Pharma). Last year, 13 additional states introduced bills to create or increase penalties for drug-induced homicide offenses.


IT NEVER WORKS

No law or threat on earth is going to slow the sale of narcotics, apparently not even for pharmaceutical fentanyl and opioid producers convicted of the crimes fueling this opioid genocide. Under the branch of Mundipharma, owned by Purdue Pharma, they’ve launched a global campaign and continue to produce pharmaceutical grade heroin like Oxycontin, now being released to the rest of the world.


Ruining Harm Reduction

Drug Induced Homicides create the culture of fear, reducing 911 calls for emergency services, and drastically increasing overdose fatalities. "High-profile coverage of DIH cases and the resulting legal aftermath — including those involving Michael K. Williams, rapper Mac Miller, and actor Philip Seymour-Hoffman — only fuel this cycle of fear," which nearly killed me. This aspect appeared numerous times in my short but impactful drug using career, long before the situation was considered an epidemic. Several times people were afraid to call 911 when someone had overdosed (including during my own overdose) out of fear of prosecution. The idea of dropping overdose victims at the ER and fleeing the scene stems from the precedent.


Good Samaritan Laws

Recent “Good Samaritan” laws provided cover for California’s addicts to request and receive help, free from police prosecution (but not free from police oversight). It’s an obvious step in the direction of sanity. Many California residents are unaware that possession of any controlled substance (or its paraphernalia) is a felony in most states, allowing for the widest net of possible arrests and convictions and scaring users away from life-saving support.


EVERY OPIOID ADDICT IS A DRUG DEALER

It's impossible to understand today's opioid markets without having lived it yourself. The pain, hurt, and misery of withdrawal brings new elements to the opioid trade. In a market where withdrawal is worse than death and oftentimes finding drugs, not money is the difficulty (especially for middle-class suburban users), users band together and help other addicts to score. Drug addicts don't like to give up their supplier either, seeking instead to score for you to help themselves. And vice versa with their connections as the project of locating and securing drugs on a daily basis requires a strong element of networking to avoid withdrawal.


With drug cartels now pressing their pills into the designs and shapes of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, here lies the real smoking gun to blame

Friends, Family, & Loved Ones Often Charged with Homicide

It is infinitely more likely that a loved one, friend, or other close associate will be charged with homicide. A person is unlikely to ignore a friend in the depths of withdrawal when they can help locate some dope and possibly receive a hit for themselves. If two addicts are in a relationship and one overdoses, their significant other will be prosecuted with homicide and this has played out already.


Old "Drug Dealer" Fable

The old fable of the drug dealer is not reality. Untold sets of hands touch each and every drug and each and every pill on their way to users. Traffickers and anyone worth prosecuting never touch the drugs themselves. DIH Legislation totally ignores the realities of the drug trade, fulfilling a fantasy of revenge in a world unhinged from the facts.


Cost and Money Siphoned Away from Helping

The cost of incarcerating three individuals for drug-induced homicide equates to “approximately 100,000 doses of naloxone — 100,000 potentially saved lives for the price of three ruined ones,” says Drug Policy Alliance. One fifth of the current US prison population is there for acts involving drugs and this is progress (although county jail sentences have increased and forced expansion). Incarceration is a leading cause in the continued use of drugs and has proven to be a failure in reducing drugs or crime. And we're due to release more inmates than ever before in the coming years, as the throwaways from two decades are nearing release. We’re beyond the point of criminal charges to no effect and for no reason other than the grinding gears of bureaucracy won’t stop moving until they break. Let this be motivation to break it.


To Conclude

Our beliefs and our laws are so removed from reality and so twisted up in contradiction, that a medical disease is attacked with criminal retaliation. A health emergency caused by the state is combated with incarceration? A pharmaceutical led epidemic, now wants to blame street level dealers/users. And while this sick and twisted opposite leads to increased overdoses and more drugs, the public finds themselves awkwardly twisted into arguments in favor of destructive injustice. This tactic targets physically dependent addicts, the victims of violent poverty and healthcare induced addiction, as the lowest man on the totem pole. What a vile and cruel idea...


Recent Drug Induced Homicide cases are sure to kill at least one addict today who's associates fear calling for emergency services.


 



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