ROCKVILLE, Md. - For the first time in Montgomery County, an accused drug dealer is being held responsible for an overdose death.
This is happening more and more across the country as law enforcement tries to combat the opioid epidemic claiming tens of thousands of lives every year.
Stephen Woods, who police believe is from Colorado, is charged with involuntary manslaughter after police say he sold fentanyl to a Germantown man who later died of an overdose.
According to court documents, the last texts on the victim’s phone were to Woods and outlined an alleged drug deal for fentanyl, which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
Police say the last text from the victim was about an hour before he died and read in part: “thanks for hooking it up, I’ll catch you on the other end.”
This happened back in August. The man who died, Dan Cotter, was 31 years old.
On Wednesday, we found out about a similar case in Anne Arundel County. Police say Jacob Caldwell was arrested and accused of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly selling a fatal dose of heroin to a 28-year-old from Pasadena in October.
Charging drug dealers with manslaughter or murder could put them behind bars for decades.
Some say it is the right step as the opioid crisis continues to claim so many lives, but there is also the argument that there is no evidence this reduces overdose deaths and, in some cases, could discourage a person who provided drugs from calling for help in an overdose scenario.