(NASHVILLE) – As House Republicans boost their efforts to combat the opioid and prescription drug epidemic in Tennessee, Representative Mary Littleton (R-Dickson) has introduced new legislation that would impose tougher penalties on illegal opioid and prescription drug suppliers.
House Bill 786 would enable law enforcement to charge illegal suppliers with voluntary manslaughter when they cause death to a user by unlawfully distributing or delivering controlled substances to them. The charge is a Class C felony in Tennessee and carries a penalty of 3-15 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
“Unfortunately, almost all of us know of someone whose life has been negatively affected by opioid or prescription drug abuse,” said Representative Littleton. “My hope is that this legislation will further reduce access to opioids and prescription drugs for Tennesseans and create a greater accountability for those who supply them.”
Tennessee consistently ranks at the top of the charts nationally as it relates to prescription drug abuse. In 2015, 1,451 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses, the highest annual number in our state’s history. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that prescription opioid abuse has a total economic burden of $78.5 billion per year in the United States.
The full text of House Bill 786 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0786.pdf
Mary Littleton is a member of the House State Government Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Criminal Justice Committee. Littleton lives in Dickson and represents House District 78, which includes a portion of Cheatham and Dickson Counties. She can be reached by email at: [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-7477.