Locking Up The Dead –
February 29, 2020 – The person who has overdosed is given the opportunity to plead guilty, and if they go that route, “the prosecutor’s office would agree to offer treatment services through probation,” instead of arresting the person and making them serve jail time.
When faced with questions as to whether or not this is a good idea, Eaton told Fox 59 News, “We are enforcing the laws in the State of Indiana. It is against the law to possess controlled substances. That is the law the legislature passed. People in this community, we do not want anyone else to die. We don’t want that to happen.”
Criminal defense attorney Bill Frederick told the Indy Star that this new protocol in Hancock County is something that isn’t seen being used very often. “… the practice of charging a person with possession based on the drug being found in their system is unusual. But because state law isn’t explicit about what possession means, it could conceivably hold up in court.”
In the past, prosecutor had to rely on actually finding the drug or paraphernalia at the scene of an overdose. Critics of the new course of action are afraid that criminalizing overdoses means more people will die, because those around the overdosed person will be afraid to call 911. They’re also worried that this new action will saddle people with felony charges for years to come, even after they’ve gotten sober.