LETTER: SD law enables all to fight illegal drugs“Any person who knowingly participates in the illegal drug market within this state is liable for civil damages.”
By: Trooper Mark Nelson, Mitchell
To the Editor:
I know that drug use and selling of these illegal drugs is out of control. I am often asked by family members of users, “What can I do?” I offer as much help as I can, but the real help comes with treatment for this addiction. Then comes the cost, loss of wages from work, travel to and from treatment and on and on. So what is there to do? I am here to tell you the South Dakota state law provides for just this situation. Most of it can be found under South Dakota Codified Law, chapter 34-20C: I will highlight some of what is in this chapter.
“Any person who knowingly participates in the illegal drug market within this state is liable for civil damages.”
Who can bring this civil action?
“Any of the following persons may bring an action for damages caused by another person’s use of an illegal drug: A parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or sibling of the individual drug user; Any person who was exposed to an illegal drug in utero; An employer of the user; Any person injured as a result of the willful, reckless, or negligent actions of a user.”
So who can damages be recovered from?
“Any person who knowingly distributed, or knowingly participated in the chain of distribution of, an illegal drug that was actually used by the user” (The drug dealer who is making money off of the sale of illegal drugs to your loved ones)
What kind of damages can you collect for?
“Economic damages, including the cost of treatment and rehabilitation, medical expenses, loss of economic or educational potential, loss of productivity, absenteeism, support expenses, accidents or injury, and any other pecuniary loss proximately caused by the illegal drug use;
“Non-economic damages, including physical and emotional pain, suffering, physical impairment, emotional distress, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, services, and consortium, and other non-pecuniary losses proximately caused by a user’s use of an illegal drug; attorneys’ fees”