WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) - Commonwealth's attorneys are calling on Governor Ralph Northam to sign a bill that would impose harsher penalties on drug dealers.

House Bill 2528 would allow prosecutors to charge drug dealers with felony murder in cases where someone has died from an overdose.

It would also provide some protection for people who share their drugs with someone who subsequently dies, thereby making them less culpable.

Waynesboro Commonwealth's Attorney David Ledbetter says it gives prosecutors a tool to fight the drug crisis.

"There are a large number of Virginians that are dying every day from opioid overdose,” Ledbetter said. “It's the epidemic that's sweeping across our state and we lost the ability due to a court of appeals decision to prosecute the dealers for the felony homicide."

The governor has until May 3 to sign the bill into law.