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Death Resulting, the latest season of New Hampshire Public Radio’s Document podcast, takes on this question: Two friends share drugs. One overdoses and dies. The other survives. Is that murder?
Prosecutors are increasingly answering “yes” to that question. They are deploying so-called “death resulting” laws to treat overdose deaths as homicides, Some in law enforcement characterize the use of this long-buried legal provision as “sending a message to drug dealers” – but as Reporter/Host Jason Moon and the Document team report, it’s not that simple. Many people prosecuted under these laws are addicted to opioids themselves - and the deterrent value of such convictions is questioned even at the highest levels of the legal community.
The four-episode series, debuting Dec. 8, 2021, follows the case of Josh, a young man facing a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison for his friend’s death. Moon examines forces that shape such cases, including a cycle of generational trauma and addiction, as well as the racist origins and impacts of these prosecutions.