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Woman faces murder charge after High Point overdose death

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A woman faces a second-degree murder charge after a man died of a heroin overdose.

At about 7:30 a.m. on July 9, police received a report of a heroin overdose in the northern High Point.

There, they found a 20-year-old man, who had previously overdosed five times, unresponsive.

Officials administered Narcan, but the man did not recover. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The High Point Police Department's Vice/Narcotics Unit began an investigation, a standard for heroin-related deaths, and charged Leighah Jackson, 28, with second-degree murder on Friday.

“We have an obligation to the families, to the loved ones left behind that who need just a little bit of closure to the loss of their loved ones. We’re gonna hold people responsible when it comes to quality of life or the loss of life in the city of High Point,” Lt. Curtis Cheeks said.

According to Cheeks, this charge stems from the North Carolina General Statute that states a second-degree murder includes one that was proximately caused by the unlawful distribution of any opiate, including heroin, among other drugs.

Randy Abbott lost his daughter to an overdose three years ago and now works with several advocacy groups in the Triad. He said that the charges can sometimes bring closure to families.

“What we have to look at is the motivation behind this person, were they someone suffering from substance use disorder, or were they someone profiting from the sale of heroin and fentanyl?” he said.

Abbott said that the charge would not be warranted in his daughter's death.

“It was two friends sharing drugs. One died and one didn’t. In a lot of people’s minds, that’s a dealer. It isn’t,” he said.

Abbott said he believes that the charge would be appropriate for someone profiting from someone struggling with substance use disorder, but that it won't solve the opioid epidemic.

“I don’t know if it really sends a message or not. I hope it does and I would like to see every true dealer off the street. But I’m not sure,” he said.

Jackson's bond was kept at $550,000. She will appear for a hearing on July 24.