BALTIMORE (AP) — Prosecutors in one Maryland county announced Wednesday that they’ve charged several drug dealers with murder after eight people died from overdoses.
Governor Larry Hogan was at the announcement, and hopes other states will follow the lead.
The state’s attorney blames the dealers after eight people died from drug overdoses.
Family who’ve lost loved ones say it’s about time these dealers face tougher charges.
“Seven years. You try to remember, as a mother, I try to remember what her voice sounded like, or what her eyes looked like, and then you get so scared that you forget,” said Sherri French, whose daughter died over an overdose.
French is still mourning after her 23-year-old daughter, and only child, died in 2010 following an overdose.
“The drugs that we see on our street are horrifying,” said St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard Fritz.
This is one of the reasons St. Mary’s County is going after suppliers.
Wednesday, eight suspected dealers were indicted and charged with murder after prosecutors say eight people they sold drugs to died.
“We will not tolerate these people walking the streets of our society killing our children and our loved ones,” Fritz said.
It’s a drastic move that the governor supports.
“What they’re doing here in St. Mary’s County is what we need to do in our other 23 jurisdictions,” Gov. Hogan said. “We need to get tough, we need to prosecute these folks.”
State officials say this epidemic is becoming even more of a concern because dealers are selling drugs with powerful additions, like Fentanyl.
In just the first quarter of this year, there were 550 fatal overdoses. 372 were related to the extremely toxic Fentanyl.
And this year’s numbers are on track to break 2016’s, when more than 2,000 people died from an overdose.
As state officials send a warning to would be drug dealers, mothers who’ve lost their children say it’s long overdue.
“You know, if you’re selling something that could potentially kill someone, then yes, yeah. I think they should be held responsible, absolutely,” French said.
The suspected drug dealers in this case face several charges, including murder and reckless endangerment.
Earlier this year, Maryland declared a state of emergency because of the drug epidemic.