Jennifer Carroll, an assistant professor of anthropology, discussed the potential impact of legislation that if passed would criminalize "death by distribution."
A recent article by N.C. Health News about legislation now being considered by the N.C. General Assembly included insights from Jennifer Carroll, assistant professor of anthropology.
The article examines legislation related to the opioid epidemic that is affecting communities around the country. Carroll drew from her research into trends in states that have pursued "death by distribution" laws that criminalize selling someone a dose of narcotics that ultimately leads to a fatal overdose.
"Adding homicide on to drug distribution is the very definition of increasing the criminalization of an activity," Carroll told N.C. Health News. "If activities are criminalized, we know from decades of public health research that that just drives that activity underground."
Carroll explained that dealers can move that business underground by relying more on fentanyl, which is much more potent and so requires less quantity to produce a high. That can make it easier for dealers to transport and distribute. However, but because of its potency, it can also be more lethal.
“If these things are criminalized further, dealers will dive deeper into their avoidance strategy. They are going to fall back on a strategy that helps them avoid arrest but that has more deadly effects on our friends and neighbors,” Carroll said.
Read the entire article here.