Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins’ decision to pursue involuntary manslaughter charges under some circumstances against people suspected of supplying drugs to individuals who, in turn, suffer fatal overdoses is a bold step.
The additional manslaughter charge – over and above typical charges of dealing drugs – holds people responsible for the ultimate result of their dealings. The charges locally and in other cases that have been tried elsewhere in such a manner typically involve an allegation that the drug was not the substance customers thought they were purchasing, or that it included a mix of additional deadly substances.
Without reaching a conclusion about the specific cases soon to be tried in Highland County – a judge and jury will ultimately decide the facts in each of those cases – we commend Collins for pursuing this line of prosecution. Illicit street drugs are a growing scourge in Highland County and across southern Ohio, as they are elsewhere in the state and nation. If dealers know they might be held accountable if their customers or others with whom they share their poison suffer a fatal overdose, it might serve as one more deterrent to drug dealing.
Our society needs to make maximum use of all tools at our disposal to combat the epidemic – which is not too strong a word – of illegal opioid drugs flooding our communities. Whatever the judicial outcome of these particular prosecutions might be, we applaud Collins for taking an even tougher approach to fighting drugs and those who peddle them.