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Baton Rouge man arrested for murder in drug overdose case

Recent news reports concerning the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman have covered many topics, ranging from the loss of an acclaimed actor to indications of a possible overdose. Closer to home, a heroin overdose case is making news in Baton Rouge as law enforcement has arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of second-degree murder charges.

Commentators say that heroin use is on the rise in Louisiana, according to The Advocate in Baton Rouge. The rise in heroin use is linked, at least in part, to increased regulation and tracking of prescription medications in Louisiana.

The recent Louisiana arrest is based upon the claim that the Baton Rouge man and his 31-year-old girlfriend were found unresponsive in a car in mid-December. The two were taken to an area hospital. Authorities say that the woman later died at the hospital. The man was taken into custody Monday on the murder allegations. It is not clear from the media what evidence law enforcement is relying upon to support a claim that the man dispensed or distributed drugs that caused the death of his girlfriend.

State and federal drug laws carry a vast number of potential charges for prosecutors to rely upon when allegations arise. In the late 1980s, Louisiana lawmakers amended the murder statutes to allow for authorities to pursue second-degree murder charges related to allegations of unlawful distribution or dispensing of drugs that can be proven to have caused an overdose death.

While the law was originally enacted in response to crack cocaine offenses, the statute includes controlled dangerous substances listed in Schedules I through V. The felony charge carries a life sentence without the benefit of parole. With such high stakes, anyone facing these kinds of allegations should consider contacting legal counsel as soon as possible.

Source: The Advocate, " Boyfriend accused of murder in heroin overdose death of girlfriend," Ryan Broussard, Feb. 4, 2014

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