State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 270. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville), expands the definition of involuntary manslaughter in response to Ohio’s opioid epidemic.

House Bill 270 would alter the definition of involuntary manslaughter to include the contribution to the death of another as a result of the offender’s illegal sale, distribution, dispensation, or administration of a controlled substance. The offense would also apply to the unlawful termination of an individual’s pregnancy as a result of the distribution of a controlled substance.

“Drug overdose deaths in our communities have become far too common, and this bill will rightfully hold drug dealers accountable,” said Smith. “This measure and others, including efforts to rehabilitate those battling addiction, will help us stem the tide against this epidemic.”

Under the bill, the new definition of involuntary manslaughter would be a felony, eligible for a prison sentence up to 20 years or a fine of up to $10,000. The judge also has the discretion to alternatively impose a community control sanction if certain factors are met.

House Bill 270 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

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