North Carolina has maintained severe penalties for Heroin and other opiates for 36 years. Maybe we have been doing it wrong? Maybe we should approach this as a medical problem instead of a criminal problem? Currently, our kids are dying and being sent to prison at shocking rates. Heroin Trafficking History and Penalties in North Carolina. The statutory provisions addressing drug trafficking, N.C. Gen. Stat. §90- 95(h)(2009) (App. 1-10), were first enacted in 1980. 1979 Session Laws Ch. 1251, sec. 6. The legislative intent behind the drug trafficking laws were clear: to come down hard on opiate trafficking, especially Heroin. Those statues were supposed to be used against drug dealers who facilitate large scale flow of drugs. Then Governor Hunt, who proposed the bill, said it was aimed at “big time drug dealers who had be drive to North Carolina by strong anti-drug laws elsewhere.” It was NOT intended to change the penalties for small time offenders convicted of possession, manufacture, or sale of drugs in small quantities as provided in current laws. NCGS § 90-95(h)(4)Any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses four grams or more of opium or opiate, or any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate (except apomorphine, nalbuphine, analoxone and naltrexone and their respective salts), including heroin, or any mixture containing such substance, shall be guilty of a felony which felony shall be known as “trafficking in opium or heroin” and if the quantity of such controlled substance or mixture involved:
- Is four grams or more, but less than 14 grams, such person shall be punished as a Class F felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 70 months and a maximum term of 93 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
- Is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, such person shall be punished as a Class E felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 90 months and a maximum term of 120 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000);
- Is 28 grams or more, such person shall be punished as a Class C felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 225 months and a maximum term of 282 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).
- (1) The person sought medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose by contacting the 911 system, a law enforcement officer, or emergency medical services personnel.
- (2) The person acted in good faith when seeking medical assistance, upon a reasonable belief that he or she was the first to call for assistance. (3) The person provided his or her own name to the 911 system or to a law enforcement officer upon arrival.
- (4) The person did not seek the medical assistance during the course of the execution of an arrest warrant, search warrant, or other lawful search. Page 2 Session Law 2015-94 Senate Bill 154-Ratified
- (5) The evidence for prosecution of the offenses listed in subsection (c3) of this section was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance for the drug-related overdose.