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Mother pushes for passage of Laree's Law

"Laree's Law' would allow law enforcement to charge someone with homicide if a person they sold heroin or opioids to died.

CAPITAL REGION -- A local mother is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation in her daughter's name, as time ticks down at the State Capitol. Laree's Law would allow police to charge someone with a homicide if the person they sold heroin or opioid pills to, dies.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed Laree’s Law, as it has in the past. Right now it is held up in committee in the Assembly.

“She'd be doing what I’m doing right now, trying to get laws passed and trying to save people,” said Patty Farrell, Laree’s mother.

Farrell said that her daughter Laree had big dreams. She wanted to break free from addiction and become a counselor to help others battling addiction. She was just shy of her 19th birthday, when she died from a heroin overdose.

“It’s something no parent should have to go through. I have to live with that for the rest of my life,” said Farrell.

She has been pushing for Laree's Law to create the crime of homicide by sale of an opioid. The proposed legislation does not call for someone using drugs with the victim to be prosecuted.

Farrell hopes the legislation, if passed, would deter big dealers from selling.

“They know when they are selling their drug there's an opportunity to kill people,” said Farrell.

“I think it's a good law, I think it's a good deterrent as well,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

Sheriff Craig Apple posting on his Facebook page this week, a call to Assembly lawmakers to pass bill.

“To me that's just wrong to just be charged with selling when you're really killing people,” said Sheriff Apple.

He said his office has been focused on prevention and treatment but needs another tool for enforcement.

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy is a co-sponsor for Laree's Law. She supports it but isn’t sure it will pass this year. She said that some of her colleagues have concerns. They are afraid that increased penalties might be used against someone who should be receiving help.

“I’m hopeful that if we can’t pass it, that we can look at some modifications that might still get at the goal,” said Assemblymember Fahy.

Farrell says if it doesn’t pass this year, she will keep pushing.

“As long as I can, as long as Laree will make me, I will continue to push for it because it's an absolute necessity,” said Farrell.

CBS6 News spoke with the Executive Director of Friends of Recovery New York, Stephanie Campbell. She said the organization is really focused on prevention, treatment and recovery and doesn't have a particular stance on Laree's Law. Campbell did say that Friends of Recovery does want to make sure any legislation passed is aimed at getting people the help they need. She said that Friends of Recovery is keeping an eye on a number of bills that still have not been passed aimed at helping people find recovery.

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