Last March I wrote about Illinois’ Drug Induced Homicide law, which makes it a Class X felony if someone gives another person a narcotic that causes death. My problem was that the law, as written, is extremely overbroad and covers situations such as where a boyfriend and girlfriend share heroin, one dies, and the other gets 15 to 30 years in prison for surviving.
Now Christy Gutowski of the Chicago Tribune has written an lengthy piece about this law, which can be found here. In it, she quotes me, which of course makes her brilliant.
So please take a look at it.
The article is timely as it is appearing a day after the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who apparently died of a heroin overdose. It has been reported that Hoffman had a drug problem when he was younger, and had gone 23 years of being clean and sober until a relapse one or two years ago. Even then, he went through treatment and cleaned up, only to relapse again. Here was a man who had been clean and sober for over two decades, had the support of friends and family and the resources to get the best possible drug treatment, yet he could not stay away from heroin. It is a horribly addicting drug. So why should we prosecute the fellow junkie who shared the needle? Isn’t he a victim too?