DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Over the years, the number of drug overdose-related deaths has grown in Iowa. Now, Iowa’s Attorney General, Brenna Bird is looking at stiffer sentencing guidelines for the dealers, aiming for accountability and to fill the gap in the sentencing measures.

“I am saying that there is not a state law currently… the best charge that a state prosecutor could have is involuntary manslaughter. Which is a Class D felony, that is just a five-year felony. The way that statute is written it was written before the drug overdose problem and in most cases wouldn’t qualify for that statute,” said Bird.

Although Iowa ranked 5th lowest in 2021 for overdose death rates nationwide, Bird states that this is a growing issue.

That’s why she is pushing a bill aiming to raise the penalty for those who deal drugs resulting in an overdose death. Making it a Class B felony with a 25-year sentence. That’s the same sentence as attempted murder.

Bird states that the bill is not just looking to put people behind bars.

“The legislation was drafted with an eye towards saving lives, and the bill I have introduced includes language that if someone calls to seek help during an overdose for a friend, that is not held against them in the criminal justice system,” said Bird.

The bill has currently passed subcommittees in both the Iowa House and Senate.