By John Ostapkovich
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – There are some bumps along the road to implementing New Jersey’s new Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, which is expected to save lives.
For the first time, the law allows someone who calls in a drug overdose emergency to 911 to not face charges for possession of a small amount of drugs. The idea, of course, is that the threat of arrest may have gotten in the way of the urge to help, and cost lives.
Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, who supports the law, says regular folks seem to have gotten the word ahead of some police.
“We’ve had about a half a dozen calls from people where a friend or relative called 911 and they still got arrested and we’re working now to educate local prosecutors and police department because apparently word about the law is not out there as broadly as it should be.”
The Governor had vetoed the first version of the bill which was then retooled to make it a little narrower, but there was broad support from a coalition of parents who lost children to overdose that, even if this can’t spare them pain, it could spare someone else.