Louisiana lawmakers believe heroin is a scourge on the state. Therefore, in an attempt to combat this brown plague on society, which has caused a surge of overdose deaths across the state, legislators recently passed a bill aimed at whipping the problem at the source.

Last month, the Louisiana Senate judiciary Committee passed a bill (Senate Bill 87) aimed at increasing the maximum penalty for heroin dealers and users from 50 to 99 years in prison. While the bill does not directly affect mandatory sentencing guidelines, it does give judges the ability to bury offenders in the prison system for the rest of their lives.

"If you want to kill a snake, you don't cut the tail off - you cut the head off,” said Senator Dan Claitor, who sponsored the bill. “These folks (heroin dealers)...in my view are distributing death sentences."

The measure now goes to the Senate floor for debate. If it is passed, people distributing or using heroin could end up facing more prison time than some murderers and rapists.

There has been a recent move on behalf of Louisiana lawmakers to increase the penalties surrounding heroin offenses, after others before them worked to lessen penalties more than a decade ago.