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Christie Vetoes New Jersey Good Samaritan Overdose Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #755)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) Friday conditionally vetoed the 911 Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, which would have exempted from criminal prosecution people who participated in or witnessed illegal drug use after the call for help for an overdose victim. The governor vetoed the bill because it would have let drug dealers "off the hook," he said.

Chris Christie is more worried about Bad Samaritans than overdosing drug users. (
"It's one of these things that sound good in the abstract," Christie told a town hall-style meeting a day earlier in Mount Laurel. "How about if they're not a Good Samaritan? How about if they're the (person) who supplied the drugs? That was my problem with the bill."

Christie said he supported harm reduction strategies, including drug treatment for low-level offenders, but that the Good Samaritan bill as passed was not the right answer.

"What I'm not willing to do is to give is to give people who commit harm to other people a free pass just because they picked up the telephone," he said. "The legislature has got to make the bill better. If they make the bill better, I'll be happy to consider signing it."

His conditional veto means the bill goes back to the legislature, which he has instructed to "study the issue of drug-overdose reporting" for 18 months and recommend "a comprehensive approach."

In the meantime, more and more New Jersey residents are dying of drug overdoses every year. Some 700 died in 2009, 884 in 2010, and about 1,000 last year, according to the state medical examiner.

The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support earlier this year and is similar to Good Samaritan laws passed in 11 other states.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


David Hart (not verified)

""How about if they're not a Good Samaritan? How about if they're the (person) who supplied the drugs? That was my problem with the bill.""


So in other words, it would be better for a drug user to die and the person who sold the dose be prosecuted than for the user to not die and the dealer to not be prosecuted? Just so we know where we stand...

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 10:49am Permalink
William Aiken (not verified)

Governor Christie is typical of Republicans(and most Democrats) who put a lot of value in thumping their chests out as being tough-on-crime. David Hart makes an excellent point in the way he put this issue into a context which reveals the Governor's idiotic priorities. I just wish some members of the media in New Jersey that cover the Governor would question his logic in the manner which Mr. Hart did. A big part of the problem is politicians who embrace such stupidity on the drug war, know they will never have to address the unintended consequences of their get-tough rhetoric.  Christie obviously is more concerned about prosecuting his citizens than saving their lives.

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 11:53am Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)

What we have here is the justification of the deaths of innocent people. If anyone should die as a result of his neglectful management of the community then he is responsible and should go to prison for it. 

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 12:15pm Permalink
Rebellion (not verified)

And this is from an obvious "food addict"?

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 12:22pm Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

Calculating from NJ's share of total US pop. and 440,000 yearly $igarette mortality, it's likely that over 10,000 NJ citizens die yearly from 700-mg hot burning overdose monoxide $igarettes (HBOMS).  Will anyone find time to check how much campaign money Christie got from Big 2WackGo compared to Democrat opponents, and how much $igarette Tax revenue NJ takes yearly to pay for "drug" persecution (total US tobacco tax revenue according to an R. J. Reynolds website: $44.5 billion, compared to estimated $20 billion "drug war" expenses).  Follow the mon(k)ey.

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 8:35pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

It can't be denied.  Listen to any conservative talk radio or discussion circuit.. just listen to them talk about the subject... they have what can only be described as pure hatred in their hearts.. these are cruel people who preach all day about increased liberties and personal accountability.. but not for anything they deem "evil" which in their minds they think it's only minorities, the poor, and scumbags who do drugs... they WANT more drug users to overdose and die, as a form of spite, at least that's the message Governor Christie is sending to the world.  Disgusting.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 12:29am Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by Uncle Bob (not verified)

Alcohol is far more of a drug than cannabis ever will be. I could spell out why, but it's been done millions of time already. Their hypocrisy is insufferable. They know this deep down, that's one reason their hatred of cannabis is so intense, it needs to be strong to push aside their conscience which knows they are doing wrong, creating violence while they trample on traditional American values of freedom and fair play.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:53am Permalink
freedom fighter (not verified)

Its easy to blame politicians, and believe me I do. But in general they are reacting to what the idiot general public want. They beat their chests about being tough on crime, because studies and polls show that thats what your ordinary joe mum and dad moron want. And a politicians job is to get re-elected, not promote sensible legislature.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 7:07pm Permalink
Jack (not verified)

In reply to by freedom fighter (not verified)

It was passed by the state legislature Bi-Partisanly. Christie Vetoed it... It is NOT what the people wanted. It is what HE wanted... His argument is bogus too since the bill doesn't give immunity for dealers. it ONLY covers simple possession and sharing...

Fri, 10/19/2012 - 12:20pm Permalink

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