The most complete and most convenient source for news and information about the borough of Barrington, N.J.
Representatives of four South Jersey communities — including Barrington neighbor Magnolia and nearby Audubon — have passed measures asking the state Legislature to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill that would provide limited legal protection against drug possession charges for people who witness an overdose and call 911.
The bill, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, is meant to cut the number of drug overdose deaths by eliminating fear of arrest for individuals who call for assistance. Ten states have passed similar laws, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
A key proponent of the legislation in New Jersey was Paul Ressler, whose son, Corey, died July 14, 2010. Someone with his son called 911, according to records, but hung up before the call was connected.
“I spoke to his roommate and, although he wouldn’t tell me this, he led me to believe that everybody was afraid to call for an EMT or the police because they were afraid they were going to get arrested,” Ressler told the NJ.com.
Christie reportedly explained his veto — which calls for an 18-month study conducted by the state Attorney General’s Office to develop a comprehensive strategy — by stating:
How about if they’re not a Good Samaritan? How about if they’re the [person] who supplied the drugs? That was my problem with the bill …
What I’m not willing to do is to give is to give people who commit harm to other people a free pass just because they picked up the telephone.
Camden County leads New Jersey in rate of drug overdose deaths, according to Philly.com. Gloucester Township and Red Bank have joined Magnolia and Audubon in asking for a veto, while Raritan and Flemington have passed resolutions voicing support for the legislation, but not going so far as to ask for a veto.
Barrington police made 39 arrests for possession of a controlled dangerous substance this through Oct. 31 of this year.