New Jersey Good Samaritan Overdose Bill Passes

A bill designed to reduce drug overdose deaths by providing some legal protection to people who witness them and summon medical assistance has been approved by the state legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Chris Christie (R). The bill passed the Senate Monday on a 21-10 vote; it had cleared the Assembly back in May.

fatal drug overdose (wikimedia.org)
The bill, Assembly Bill 578, also known as the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, would provide limited legal protection against drug possession charges for people who witness an overdose and call 911. It is aimed at reducing drug overdose deaths by reducing the fear of arrest for those might call for assistance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death, replacing automobile accidents. More than 27,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2007, most of them from prescription opiates, either by themselves or in combination with other drugs, including alcohol.

Many drug overdose deaths occur in the presence of others and take hours to occur, meaning that there is time and opportunity to call for help. But strict enforcement of drug possession laws against would-be Samaritans discourages some from making that call.

Advocates are applauding the passage of the life-saving bill.

"Calling 911 should never be a crime. Our current policies focus on punishment and drive people into the shadows and away from help," said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Saving lives should always take priority over punishing behavior.  A Good Samaritan law will encourage people to get help."

"When a life is on the line we can ill afford to waste time weighing the consequences of calling 911 or deciding whether or not to be truthful about what substance was used to overdose," said Senate bill sponsor Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex). "By narrowly eliminating the criminal consequences one might face after calling 911 to report an overdose, I hope to diminish any hesitation one might have about doing the right thing."

"I and my family are so grateful to the senate for passing this life-saving legislation," said Patty DiRenzo, whose son Salvatore died of an overdose at age 27. "We, and the other families who have lost loved ones to overdose, will be advocating with Gov. Christie to urge him to sign this bill. It's extremely important that we prevent future overdose deaths and spare other families the grief that mine has endured."

If Gov. Christie signs the bill into law, New Jersey will become the ninth state to enact a Good Samaritan law. The others are Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. Similar legislation is pending in several other states.

Trenton, NJ
United States
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Any idea when Gov. Christie

Any idea when Gov. Christie is expected to sign the bill?

Legalize!

The real good Samaritan bill will be the one that legalizes drugs for once and for all.

Legalize!

The real good Samaritan bill will be the one that legalizes drugs for once and for all.

legalize, less overdose, et al

You won't have to worry as much if "drugs" were legalized.  Safety regulations would be in place.  Even more important is taking the illegal markets astronomical profit margins away from the murderous cartels, the "lily white front" launderers, the rotten multinational goldman sachs type banks, the police/prison complex, etc.  Most important of all the most effective too to gain market share by illegal commodity and service providers, i.e. violence, torture and death, will be extinct. Also, Long term addicts whose only alternative in the current drug war is high cost maintenance, or suicide by overdose or other means.  It has been proven that addicts can lead contributive and productive lives if they are legally maintained, which means low cost for the addict.  They have no longer to spend their whole day begging, selling their bodies for sex, stealing, etc to get the high amount of money to keep them from going into a painful withdrawal or all too often deadly overdose.  The best audio file I have heard is Jim Geirach(sp?)on the Burt Cohen radio show(see archives)a former drug prosecutor, now with L.E.A.P(law enforcement against prohibition), about why drugs should be legalized and why legal medically monitored(for hard drugs, not cannabis) maintenance is much better than leaving the addict to the torturous jungle; why crime would plummet surrounding the sale of drugs if legalized regulated and taxed, etc.  This war on drugs is just part of the evil of what america has become: a bloody, exploitive, imperialist empire.  Our founders of this former US republic, must be rolling in their graves.

 

dahszil

male

usa

good samaritan bill

Ce projet de loi ne porte pas sur la légalisation des drogues, il est de sauver des vies. Gouverneur Christie doit cesser de gaspiller un temps précieux et vit l'attente d'informations complémentaires; le temps est venu d'agir. Je regardais la vidéo où il a parlé de ne pas vouloir laisser les trafiquants de drogue décroché si elles appellent à l'aide. Réveillez-gouverneur Christie !! Ces personnes ne sont pas généralement utilisent leurs médicaments avec leurs concessionnaires, replique montre ils les utilisent dans leurs maisons, dans les voitures. lors des fêtes et maisons d'amis. Oui il y aura peut être un courtier ou deux qui ne peuvent pas être poursuivi à ce moment particulier, mais qui se soucie vraiment, ils sont évidemment pas l'objet de poursuites de toute façon si elles sont encore là-bas traiter. La question est de sauver une vie en permettant à quelqu'un d'appeler à l'aide. Il est un concept simple que les gens ignorants aiment à tourner dans un débat de bonne ou de mauvaise. Personnellement, je serais heureux d'avoir quelqu'un à pied sans poursuites si elle pourrait empêcher ces décès inutiles. Les concessionnaires seront encore là, avec ou sans le projet de loi; les utilisateurs ne peuvent toutefois avoir un moment qui a quitté pour quelqu'un de choisir de sauver leur vie.

Some of the most violent

Some of the most violent gangs in the world smoke pot on a daily basis. Mary J.

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