February 19, 2018 – First responders are on the front lines of the drug crisis and have a unique view on the challenges facing individuals struggling with the disease of addiction.
Several community officials in the Lehigh Valley gathered to discuss solutions with the Allentown Morning Call. Frustrations include a lack of tools to help people and the need for updated laws:
In Lehigh Township, police Chief Scott Fogel’s officers too get called to the same addresses “over and over again” for reports of opioid overdoses.
Often they are unable to make an arrest. That’s because Pennsylvania’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Immunity Law, enacted in 2014, prohibits police from charging both a person who has overdosed on drugs and the person who called 911 to get help.
So, his officers can only watch helplessly as the addicted person refuses medical help and continues to deteriorate.
The chief said he’d like to see a law similar to one enforced against first-time drunken drivers, which allows suspects to avoid a criminal record, but forces them to address their drinking problem.
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Read the full story from Allentown Morning Call.