Friday is International Drug Overdose Awareness Day. An advocacy group is urging Governor Christie to sign a law that it says will help save lives.
The Drug Policy Alliance says overdoses are the leading cause of accidental deaths in New Jersey.The Alliance’s state director, Roseanne Scotti, is hoping Governor Christie will sign the Good Samaritan Emergency Act that received final legislative approval from the state Senate last week.The measure would provide limited immunity from drug possession charges for people who call 911 in overdose situations.“People are afraid to call when they’re in that situation,” said Scotti. “They’re afraid they’ll get arrested. They’re afraid they’ll get dragged off to jail. So about eight states have passed similar laws giving people this limited protection so that you can remove that barrier and get people to call for help.”New York, Florida and Massachusetts already have such a law. Five states have passed the legislation this year.
Scotti says encouraging people to call 911 might also get more people into drug treatment.Gov. Christie has not indicated whether he will sign the bill.