Lindenwold woman charged in overdose death
A South Jersey woman has been charged with providing the drugs that led to a September overdose death.
The investigation into the death began Sept. 5, when two overdose victims were found in a Lindenwold home, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
One victim was found dead in a bathroom; the other was unconscious on a bedroom floor but was revived and hospitalized. Investigators determined that both had purchased fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is far more potent than morphine, from a Lindenwold woman.
That woman, 28-year-old Lisa Hicks, was charged with first-degree strict liability death after a toxicology report completed this week confirmed that the victim died from the fentanyl, prosecutors said.
Officials did not identify either victim or say how they knew Hicks, who was also charged in October with drug possession and distribution offenses.
New Jersey's "strict liability" law for drug-related deaths allows prosecutors to charge people who allegedly manufacture or provide substances involved in fatal overdoses.
While alleged drug providers were seldom charged in such deaths in the past, new laws targeting suppliers ares being used more frequently.
Last week, a Hatboro woman was charged in Montgomery County with supplying the heroin and fentanyl that caused a Willow Grove man's November death.
The charges come as a surge of overdose deaths have been reported in the Philadelphia region, including at least 35 deaths in the city over five days. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have both reported recent spikes in drug overdose deaths, mostly due to opioids like heroin and fentanyl. Both states saw such deaths increase by more than 20 percent last year.