Gates arrests linked to an opioid death gives families of overdose victims hope
East Rochester, N.Y. - An unprecedented arrest of two alleged drug dealers in Gates is giving families of overdose victims some hope.
“A lot needs to be done, but I think we’re taking steps,” said Kristy Woodham, whose daughter died of a heroin overdose.
On Wednesday, Gates police charged Stanley Grant, 48, and Dominic Hobbs, 31, with selling drugs separately to a 41-year-old woman who overdosed on heroin.
Hobbs is charged with criminally negligent homicide.
"I think it's great. That's what we need to do, because the addicts are just desperate and they will put anything in their body thinking it's heroin," said Woodham.
Woodham lost her daughter, Sarah Larazus, 24, to a heroin overdose in June of 2016.
"The last heroin that she took also had fentanyl, morphine and cocaine in it,” Woodham said. “So whoever sold that to her for $10, say, didn't care. It was murder as far as I’m concerned."
Larazus' parents believe authorities should come down harder on the dealers who sell addicts drugs.
“Because if we can get these dealers off the streets, maybe more addicts could find rehab,” Woodham said. “They won’t be overdosing and dying.”
A defense attorney said, in New York State, it is difficult to legally hold a seller accountable if someone dies from using.
“There’s just not really a legal basis for it,” said Sarah Wesley. “Making that transfer is quite a leap. That’s not to say individuals who are selling drugs to vulnerable populations shouldn’t be accountable. I think it's very difficult, legally, to pin responsibility on the seller.”
“I know it's difficult to prove the connection between who sold it and who gave it, and the individual being responsible for their actions” said Mark Woodham, Larazus’ stepfather. “But certainly, there has to be some consequences."
State lawmakers are working on legislation to make selling opiates used in deadly overdoses a homicide.