A bill in the South Carolina House Judiciary Committe aims to stop the overdose epidemic in the state by charging those who distribute drugs resulting in an overdose, with manslaughter. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reports there were more than 1,000 overdose deaths in the state during 2017, something lawmakers are looking to stop at the source.

The bill also outlines changing the maximum sentence for manslaughter from five years to 15 years.

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says the manslaughter charge will act to deter the distribution of drugs in the community. Richardson added sentences associated with drug charges are often longer than those associated with manslaughter, as drug sentences increase with each offense. 

“Adding a manslaughter to it is a tool, but you won’t see this law used nearly as much as the drug laws and the trafficking laws against people who put basically a poison into the community,” Richardson said.