By David Madden
CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — Drug abuse advocates teamed up with police to hit the streets of Camden this morning with a message. Don’t be afraid to help someone overdosing on drugs. Just call 9-1-1.
Sounds simple enough, but some people might be afraid to pick up the phone, worried they might get arrested because they’re doing drugs as well. New Jersey’s “Good Samaritan” law prevents that.
Patty DiRenzo lost her son to drugs, and now works with the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force. She, and several police officers, handed cards out along Broadway, a known drug corridor, targeting those who may need help.
Why cards? DiRenzo told KYW Newsradio, “I’ve had billboards. I’ve put things in newspapers. But they’re not looking at billboards. They’re not looking at newspapers. They’re on the streets and this is where we need to be.”
Camden County Police Captain Gabriel Camacho agrees. His officers address drug addiction every day on the street. “In the past, we treated this as strictly a criminal act and obviously it’s not helping,” he said. “It’s an addiction. It’s treatment. It needs resources and help.”
Hopes are to let those on the street know the resources are available, and you won’t get in trouble if you use them to save a life.