Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No New Treatment, But 30 Year Sentences Proposed by MD Delegates!!

Tuesday, February 10th at 1:00, House Bill 222 will be introduced in the House of Delegate's, Judiciary Committee.  The bill was initially sponsored by Senator Susan Lee (Montgomery County) and Delegate Kathleen Dumais (Montgomery County) in response to a request from John McCarthy, State's Attorney for Montgomery County.  It stipulates that a person who distributes heroin or fentanyl to a person who dies of an overdose, can be charged with murder, and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.  It does not specify how much they have to distribute.  

So here is a possible scenario:  A kid drives to Baltimore and buys $20 worth of heroin, and sells $10 to his friend.  He comes back home and sells it to the friend.  The friend dies. The kid who bought it and "distributed" it to his best friend can now be tried for murder and receive a 30 year sentence.  So much for "Rehabilitation Not Incarceration".  

Note that this contradicts the Good Samaritan Act, passed only last year, granting immunity to anyone calling for help when witnessing an overdose.  However, there is a clause whereby the "distributor" is still immune from prosecution if he calls for help upon witnessing the overdose.  But ...not if he passes out too but lives, not if he leaves and his buddy dies after he leaves, not if he doesn't have a phone, not if...  In those cases, he would be subject to spending 30 years of his life behind bars.  

Guess how much tax payers will pay for this "distributor" to spend 30 years --the better part of his life in jail?  .....$1,095,000.  Hmmm, we can spend over 1 million dollars to incarcerate someone, but we don't have money to add even one new treatment bed in at least the past four years???

I am wondering why the penalty ONLY pertains to heroin and fentanyl?  Let's not forget that there are still more people dying from prescription opiates.  Could it be that if the bill included, say, ....OxyContin or Dilaudid or ...Methadone --that doctors would be held liable?  Why is it that our legislators DO NOT seem to have a problem with a "prescribing for profit" doc, but a kid who sells heroin to another kid, must forfeit the better part of his life?  And presumably, a friend who sells an Oxy to a friend who dies --has not committed murder?  

Please meet me at the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates to testify in opposition to this bill (as currently written) by 12:30 tomorrow.  If you plan to make it, call me at 301-525-6183, and I will add your name to the list.  If you do not wish to testify, please show up to support those testifying.  If you absolutely cannot make it to Annapolis tomorrow, please call the Delegates listed below and state that you are in opposition to HB 222, as currently written.  

Delegates to Call:  301-858-
Kathleen Dumais (Montgomery) -3052 
Alfred Carr (Montgomery) --3638
Luke Clippinger (Baltimore City) --3303
Bonnie Cullison (Montgomery) --3883
David Fraser-Hidalgo (Montgomery) --3186
William Frick (Montgomery) --3454
Barbara Frush (Prince George's & Anne Arundel) --3114
Jim Gilchrist (Montgomery) --3744
Ana Sol Gutierrez (Montgomery) --3181
Pete Hammen (Baltimore City) --3772
Ariana Kelly (Montgomery) --3642
Marc Korman (Montgomery) --3649
Ben Kramer (Montgomery) --3485
Mary Ann Lisanti (Harford) --3331
Eric Luedtke (Montgomery) --3110
Maggie McIntosh (Baltimore City) --3990
Aruna Miller (Montgomery) --3090
Marice Morales (Montgomery) --3528
Andrew Platt (Montgomery) --3037
Kirill Reznik (Montgomery) --3039
Haven Shoemaker (Carroll) --3359
Geraldine Valentino-Smith (Prince George's) --3101
Brett Wilson (Washington) --3125
Craig Zucker (Montgomery) --3380

Please raise your voice.  It counts!!

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