Madison County officials say latest way to fight heroin, overdose is ‘groundbreaking’

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- After what police call a "very unfortunate incident" surrounding a recent overdose in which four people face charges, they're cracking down on drugs from the law enforcement side all the way to prosecution.

Investigators want people to know that the latest illegal drug to overtake the area, a heroin-fentanyl mixture, has deadly consequences.

And now, it can also earn you big-time charges.

"I would hope that it sends a strong message to the people who are dealing drugs, not only do you have to worry about the drug charge themselves now, but if you're an accomplice in a case where someone dies, that you'll be charged in that as well," said Sergeant Jerry King, deputy commander of the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counter Drug Team.

"Did they understand and appreciate the risks that were involved [in dealing the drugs]?" asked Don Rizzardi, an Assistant District Attorney in Madison County. "That's one of the things you look at [deciding charges to file.]"

Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris says this approach is "groundbreaking" for Madison County, which hasn't prosecuted those who had a hand in overdoses this way before.

"Maybe a person who... is using narcotics is going to say, I need to stop," he said. "If one person does that then maybe we have accomplished part of our mission."

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