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Heroin dealers held responsible in Portland man's overdose death

A 33-year-old Portland man died following a heroin overdose and police say the men that provided the heroin supply have been held responsible. The three men involved in the case pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their crimes on Oct. 7. These latest convictions may now set a solid ground for a potential personal injury claim.

The victim was a single parent who leaves behind a 9-year-old son. The problem began when the 33-year-old had back surgery to treat two herniated discs and just weeks after the operation, reinjured his back trying to tie his shoes.

His doctor didn't want to operate on him again and instead prescribed him pain medication. When those were gone, the injured man turned to the streets to treat his pain. Pills such as Oxycontin and Oxycodone got expensive so heroin was suggested as a more affordable alternative. One night after using the drug, his mother found him lying lifeless on the bathroom floor.

An investigation into the victim's death led police to the discovery of his heroin suppliers. Police say the supply was a three part operation with one man serving as the main supplier, another who managed orders by phone, and a third man who delivered the dangerous products. In addition to time behind bars, two of the three men are to be deported upon completion of their sentences.

Though two of the men will be deported, they may still be subject to a personal injury suit. The family of the victim might use these guilty pleas to pursue accountability for his death that leaves a 9-year-old boy fatherless.

Source: Oregon Live, "Three heroin dealers tied to 33-year-old Portland man's overdose death," Maxine Bernstein, Oct. 7, 2011

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