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Bon Jovi Applauds N.J.'s New Good Samaritan Overdose Law

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on May 02, 2013 12:12 PM

Singer Bon Jovi is lending his support to a new Good Samaritan Overdose Protection law set to be signed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today.

The new bill promises to provide protection from drug charges for "Good Samaritans" who call 911 to report someone has overdosed, as happened to Bon Jovi's daughter Stephanie in 2012, reports The Star-Ledger.

New Jersey's Good Samaritan law mirrors existing laws in states like New York, where lawmakers have attempted to curb drug deaths by encouraging calls to police.

Shield From Criminal Charges

Generally, Good Samaritan laws prevent do-gooders from being later sued in civil court for any damage they may have caused by attempting to help someone in need.

New Jersey's law, comprised of the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act and the Opiod Antidote and Overdose Prevention Act, provides two forms of protection:

  1. No arrest or prosecution for possession or use of illegal drugs. Any person who seeks medical assistance for herself or another who is overdosing cannot be arrested or charged for simple possession or use with evidence gained by calling 911.
  2. No criminal or civil liability for giving an overdose antidote. Anyone who administers an opioid antidote to an overdose victim in an emergency situation cannot be sued or charged with a crime relating to giving the antidote.

Perhaps a large part of the reason that Jon Bon Jovi is supporting the bill is that his daughter Stephanie Bongiovi suffered a heroin overdose in her dorm room in 2012.

Bongiovi's classmate at Hamilton College had called 911 in time for medics to revive her. New York's "Good Samaritan 911" law shielded both Bongiovi and her classmate from drug charges.

Preventing Drug Deaths

Although Bon Jovi's daughter survived her brush with death, almost 6,000 people have died from drug overdoses in New Jersey since 2004, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

When Gov. Christie signs the bill into law, New Jersey will be the 12th state to provide similar Good Samaritan protections and, hopefully, will help prevent more drug overdose deaths.

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