Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243</p>
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen and Passaic), prime assembly sponsor
Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director, Drug Policy Alliance
Candice Singer, Research Analyst, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence—NJ
Patty DiRenzo, Blackwood, lost son to overdose
Paul Ressler, Hamilton, lost son to drug overdose
Alice Silverman, Maple Shade, lost son to overdose
Kass Foster, Parent to Parent, Marlton, lost son to overdose
Susan Howland, Moorestown, lost brother to overdose
Connie Dalton, Hamilton, son overdosed and was saved by a 911 call and naloxone
Abby Boxman, GRASP, Howell, lost son to overdose
Diane Conforti, GRASP, Rumson, lost son to overdose
Father John Stabeno, Diocese of Camden, Founder of The Prodigal House Foundation and Director of Client Services for Lakeside Recovery
WHAT: Press conference urging the legislature to overturn Governor Christie’s misguided veto of the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act.
WHEN: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Committee Room 9, 3rd Floor of the State House Annex.
On October 5, 2012, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act (A578/S851), which would have provided limited legal protection to those who witness a drug overdose and summon medical assistance. The bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support as it moved through the legislative process and the governor’s subsequent veto shocked and devastated the thousands of family members who have lost loved ones to the disease of addiction in New Jersey. Now those families have launched a campaign to have the veto overturned. As part of the campaign, a dozen municipalities have passed resolutions urging the legislature to override the veto.
Overdose is a major public health problem and the leading cause of accidental death in New Jersey. These deaths are entirely preventable. The majority of overdose victims do not actually die until several hours after they have taken a drug and most of these deaths occur in the presence of others, meaning that there is both time and opportunity to summon medical assistance. Unfortunately, fear of arrest and prosecution often prevents people from calling 911 and studies show that as a result, help is called for in only half of all overdose emergencies. This bill provides limited protection from drug possession charges for a witness who calls 911 in these situations and has the ability to save countless lives.