Relatives of overdose victims plead again for ‘Good Samaritan’ measure

Relatives of drug overdose victims are urging New Jersey lawmakers to attempt an override of Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act.

The legislation would have given immunity from drug possession charges to anyone who witnesses an overdose and calls 911 for help.

When he vetoed it in October, Christie recommended an 18-month study to come up with a more comprehensive approach to the overdose problem

Saying her 19-year-old son, Jason, died from an overdose in 2003, Linda Surks of South Brunswick says she wants an override vote soon.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“I know it will help save lives. Every second counts with an overdose. Children are dying. Our children are dying,” she said Monday. “We must do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

Patty DiRenzo of Blackwood says her son, Sal, died from an overdose in 2010 and the person with him didn’t call for help because of the fear of being arrested.

“We lose 700, at least 700, children a year from overdoses, and at least half of those overdoses happen in the presence of others,” DiRenzo said. “No one should be left alone to die. No one.”

Every previous effort by Democrats who control the Legislature to override a Christie veto has been unsuccessful.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal