House committee approves mandatory jail time for heroin users,dealers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Without objection, the House Criminal Justice Committee approved a minimum mandatory jail term for heroin users and dealers --two years for users and ten years for dealers.

Heroin deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish alone went from five to 35 in 2013. That's 's enough to get some action from the locals.

"I have been to these scenes with these overdoses where you have two people at a time male and female shoot each other up,' says East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore. "The needle does not leave their arm. It is so quick the brain immediately stops."

Heroin has made its way back into society, according to law enforcement and not in a good way.

"Heroin is now the second highest drug with relation to violent crime in Louisiana followed by crack cocaine," State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says. "I want to make sure you saw that a hundred and fifty two pounds of heroin was seized on our streets in Louisiana in 2013."

District Court Judge Robert Morrison cautioned the panel explaining how users need treatment not jail time.

"But if you leave it like it is you are going to exclude some people from treatment and the people that are using it I'm not sure it's a deterrent to put them on a mandatory," Judge Morrison says. "These people are already substance abusers. They are not thinking about going to jail."

But his warning was not considered and the measure passed without amendment.

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