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April 30, 2019

Update: The following organizations and individuals have co-signed the ACLU of Virginia's letter to the governor asking him to veto HB 2528:

  • The Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance
  • The Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Honesty Liller, Chief Executive Officer of The McShin Foundation
  • Virginia State NAACP Criminal Justice Committee
  • Virginia Disability Law Center
  • Interfaith Action for Human Rights
  • Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants
  • VOCAL Virginia
  • The Chris Atwood Foundation
  • Social Action Linking Together (SALT)
  • Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy
  • Sen. Jennifer McClellan

The ACLU of Virginia sent Gov. Ralph Northam a letter on March 1, 2019 asking him to veto HB 2528 (Hugo), which seeks to expand the law to allow someone to be charged with felony homicide for supplying a drug to another adult who takes the drug voluntarily and overdoses. At a time when efforts to reduce addiction through tougher criminal penalties have failed, the ACLU of Virginia believes that instead of reducing addiction, this legislation would hurt individuals, families and communities.

"After more than 40 years of the failed War on Drugs, we know one thing for sure – imposing harsh punishments on suppliers hasn’t solved the drug problem but has cost the taxpayers of the Commonwealth millions of dollars in the costs of prosecution and incarceration," stated the letter. "Drugs are just as available, cheap, and in demand as ever. Expanding the law to allow someone to be charged for murder for supplying a drug when another adult voluntarily takes the drug will not end overdoses. Moreover, given the practical and legal difficulty in proving such a case beyond a reasonable doubt, the bill offers no real solution to the opiate problems now confronting our communities."

The ACLU of Virginia called for smarter, evidence-based responses than this bill offers, and, accordingly, urge the governor to veto this expensive, unnecessary and ineffective legislation.

You can read the full letter below.