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Giving away drugs for free is drug dealing under the law

Teenagers in Kentucky and across the country face a lot of pressures in today's world, and many of them turn to drugs to help them cope. It isn't just street drugs that are a problem. Many teens abuse prescription drugs, some of which are more addictive than alcohol or marijuana. The legal consequences of drug use are serious, and dealing drugs is a crime with even higher penalties. What may alarm many teens and their parents is the fact that no money needs to be exchanged in order for someone to be charged as a drug dealer. If a person gives drugs to another person, the law considers that drug dealing.

Teens often share drugs, or pool their money to buy them. Anyone who gives drugs to another person can be charged with drug dealing. In a worst-case scenario, if someone dies from a drug overdose or as the result of taking a drug, anyone who was involved with that person's acquisition of the drug can face charges, including murder. A report in the NY Times mentions cases in which adults and teens have been charged with murder after supplying drugs for free to people who overdosed and died.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens reports that teen overdose deaths are on the rise. The NY Times has reported that prosecutions in accidental deaths from drug overdose nearly doubled from 2015 to 2017. Charges in more than 1000 cases in that period ranged from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

When a minor is charged with drug offenses, the case is likely to be tried in juvenile court. Although juvenile court is different than adult court, a conviction in juvenile court is still a grave matter that can have far-reaching consequences such as making it more difficult to get accepted to college or to get a job.

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