Senate Passes Bills To Increase Penalties For Selling Drugs To Minors

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Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

Drug dealers, beware: You may serve more jail time if you are arrested selling narcotics to children under 14 or if you are caught at a park or a playground.

The State Senate passed two drug-related bills yesterday, the first sponsored by Senator Jack Martins and the second by Senator Martin Golden. Martin’s bill makes selling a controlled substance to a minor under the age of 14 a Class A-II felony and Golden’s bill expands existing laws that prosecute people who sell drugs around daycare centers and schools to include parks and playgrounds.

The bills are in response to an increase in the use of prescription drugs and opiates in New York State, including several recent overdoses among young adults in South Brooklyn. There have been numerous drug busts made by the officers of the 62nd Precinct.  Golden recently hosted a forum to address the stigma of heroin use at the Knights of Columbus on 86th Street, during which a special narcotics prosecutor declared southern Brooklyn “awash with heroin.”

Martin claims that the real criminals in the drug trade are the adult dealers who attempt to create a market for their product. He pointed to a record number of deaths among his constituency in Nassau County last year as evidence of a drug epidemic that requires increased penalties.

“Adults who sell dangerous, illegal drugs to young children are predators, plain and simple,” he said.

“Stricter laws are on the books to reduce the presence of drugs in school zones, and today, the Senate has approved this bill that would similarly guard parks and playgrounds,” Golden added.

The bills have yet to be passed in the assembly.

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