Senate panel backs bill targeting drug dealers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Senate panel has voted out legislation to punish dealers when their drugs cause injuries to users.

Senate Bill 662, approved Tuesday by the Judiciary Committee, would make it a second-degree felony when illegal drugs cause serious permanent injuries or create a substantial risk of death.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, said the rising number of overdose deaths and injuries are the result of increased chemicals to make drugs more potent and addictive.

“We should do everything in our power to make sure the people who are inflicting this sort of misery are held responsible for their actions and face a punishment that matches the severity of the crime,” Bartolotta said in a statement.

Bartolotta said because Pennsylvania lacks such a law, district attorneys often refer drug injury cases to federal prosecutors. She said that places an undue strain on U.S. attorney offices.

The legislation is awaiting a vote in the full Senate.

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