A new law recently took effect in North Carolina that officials say will work to curb drug dealing.
Under the Death by Distribution law, a drug dealer who sells a controlled substance that causes someone's death can be charged with second-degree murder.
Before this law went into effect on December 1, Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller says malice was needed to charge a drug dealer with second-degree murder. With the new law, he says malice is no longer needed.
“...now we can make that connection between the death and the drugs,” he explains.
Vanessa Sapp, a Sneads Ferry woman whose son overdosed in 2016, says she is glad to see this new law go into effect in North Carolina.
“To know that parents from here forward will have that opportunity, and not have to go through the stress and anxiety and the weight of trying to prove the malice...” says Sapp.
Sapp says not having to prove malice will take the weight off of law enforcement's shoulders as well.
“I see the stress in their job in trying to prove the malice because they want so much to do right by us," says Sapp.
Sheriff Miller says there has not yet been anyone prosecuted under the new law in Onslow County.