Bill Would Allow Distributor to Face Murder Charges for Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

A proposed bill in Tennessee aims to grant district attorneys the authority to pursue second-degree murder charges against individuals who distribute fentanyl, which leads to the death of another person.

Senate Bill 1754 successfully cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now making its way to Finance, Ways and Means.

“I had the opportunity to personally visit the Texas border to witness the origins of the fentanyl that we frequently intercept in Tennessee,” shared Senator Adam Lowe, a representative from Calhoun. During my visit, I engaged in conversations with border patrol agents and learned that there is an additional layer to this crisis, which hasn’t yet reached Tennessee. This revelation begs the question: what further actions can we take? It is imperative that we tackle the issue of fentanyl trafficking head-on and adopt a stringent stance against this dangerous substance within our own state.”

According to a fiscal note, the state would incur $2.4 million in increased incarceration costs due to the bill. However, Lowe is confident that he has found a way to fund the bill within this year’s Tennessee budget.

Tennessee ranks second in the United States for fentanyl overdoses, according to Lowe. He strongly believes that the I-75 corridor plays a significant role as a major distribution point for this dangerous drug.


Under the law, individuals can face prosecution for drug distribution as well as second-degree murder.

Geotracking services can also be utilized to locate and bring legal action against distributors who transport goods across county lines.

According to Stephen D. Crump, a representative from the state district attorney’s conference, the recently enacted law establishes a crucial differentiation in the legal system. Under this law, murder charges related to drug distribution will be prosecuted under the drug statute instead of the homicide statute.

According to his belief, it is crucial to acknowledge that some jurors may experience confusion or hold philosophical objections when it comes to categorizing deaths resulting from distribution as homicide.

According to Crump, implementing this change will significantly decrease obstacles in prosecuting these cases and ultimately lead to the incarceration of murderers.

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