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Michigan Attorney General Treating Overdoses As Homicides

Jun 1, 2017

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Credit State of Michigan / michigan.gov

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office is treating cases of fatal drug overdoses as murder investigations.

He says four attorneys have been assigned to help prosecute cases against opioid and heroin traffickers, including two instances where alleged suppliers are accused of second-degree murder

“We’re after the dealers.  We’re after the traffickers, and we’re after the over-prescribers, in terms of the bad docs who over-prescribe,” he said.  “We’re on their case, too.” 

Chief Assistant Attorney General Matthew Schneider says the office is targeting suppliers of heroin and opioids in cases of fatal overdoses.

“In the old days, what would happen is, if somebody overdosed on drugs, it was a drug overdose,” said Schneider.  “Now, we’ve changed the rubric.  If there’s a drug overdose, you put up the caution tape.  That’s a homicide scene.  So, we treat those as homicides.” 

Michigan, like other states, has been trying to get a handle on an epidemic of opioid abuse.  The Centers for Disease Control says 2,000 people in Michigan died of an opioid or heroin overdose in 2015.  

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org