Pennsylvania Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling had more than two dozen drug overdose deaths in 2015. One of those deaths was his friend’s son. He told PennLive “This hits me very personally.” Mr. Kiessling then announced that he will classify all overdose deaths as homicide, meaning death at the hands of another unless involving drugs for which the deceased had a prescription. Kiessling told the Daily Item, “Drug dealers are murderers. You’re just as dead from a shot of Heroin as if someone puts a bullet in you.” Kiessling went on to say, “I don’t care if I offend people.” A Lycoming County District Attorney notes such a ruling “is not a legal finding of homicide” but factors into police investigations to determine if a crime was committed. The Northumberland County and Union County Coroners are also weighing the change. The Northumberland County Coroner had 3 Heroin overdoses in 10 days during the month of March. The Union County Coroner notes a homicide decision “could be traumatic” for the deceased’s family. Both agree the homicide rate in Pennsylvania will pick up.
Story was published on FoxNews.com on March 24, 2016