Family devastated by overdose calls for tough new action on drugs

February 16, 2017 11:32 PM

A Webster family devastated by a deadly drug overdose called for strict new laws Thursday to punish those who provide dangerous narcotics.

Annette Grana said she was galvanized anew by recent drug deaths of young people in the community within the past week. "I look at the obits every day, and I can always tell what it usually is," she said.

Grana’s granddaughter, 24-year-old Nicole Grana, died of an overdose after taking heroin on Christmas Eve 2014. Nicole’s relatives blamed her boyfriend Domenic Mineccia, who they say provided the drugs. Mineccia is still awaiting trial on a number of charges including endangerment of the couple’s young son.

Nicole Grana’s family asked state and federal lawmakers to legislate tougher punishment for those who provide narcotics that result in a death, similar to the liability of bartenders for drunk driving accidents.

"If I give you drugs and I take drugs, then you die and I live, and say ‘well, he wanted me to,’ there's no consequences," exclaimed Robert Grana, Nicole Grana’s grandfather. "Doesn't sound fair to me."

Last year, the family put special hope in US House Bill 6158, the 2016 “HELP Act,” introduced by New York Rep. Tom Reed. The act concentrated on the drug Fentanyl and provided for penalties up to life in prison or even death for providing a dose that resulted in a death.

The measure didn’t make it through Congress last year but a statement from Reed’s office Thursday said he will stay involved in the issue. Annette Grana expressed hope that harsh penalties might make drug dealers, or fellow drug users, think twice about providing someone with narcotics.

"If one person would say ‘maybe I shouldn't buy heroin…’ she mused, “or ‘maybe I shouldn't get this heroin to them…’ Or ‘What is in this?’"

New York State has taken a shot at legislation to hold those who provide drugs responsible for drug deaths. The proposed "Laree’s Law" would allow drug dealers to be charged with homicide if someone gets a fatal overdose. The measure passed in the state Senate twice but never made it through the Assembly.

Annette Grana said she battles the tendency of grieving relatives to stay private when loved ones die from drugs. She urged them to go public, unite, and take their cases to state and national leaders. "I'm ready to call Donald Trump if I could get them to listen to me for a minute,” she said. "Get in touch. I mean it. I am a very shy, quiet person. This has put me over the edge.  I can't stand to see it anymore, to see what's happening to our young people."

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Charles Molineaux

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