BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish is asking lawmakers to drastically increase prison sentences for people convicted of distributing the highly addictive drug. The move comes after a recent surge of heroin overdoses in south Louisiana.

Dr. Beau Clark has drafted a tentative proposal to raise the mandatory minimum sentence for dealing heroin to 30 years, a push he described as a compromise between the life sentences once in place and the five-year minimum on the books.

Clark, who has become increasingly outspoken on public health matters, is among a growing chorus of local authorities who blame the resurgence of heroin on a 2001 law that jettisoned life sentences for heroin distributors.

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