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Mother Using Billboard to Raise Awareness for Good Samaritan Laws

Mother Using Billboard to Raise Awareness for Good Samaritan Laws

No one loves harder than a mother, and the pain a mother feels when a child suffers one cannot even imagine. So when a mother loses a child, the hurt can do a lot of things. For some mothers, it pushes them to action, and that is exactly what happens to a grieving mom in Ohio who recently launched a battle against drug overdoses with a roadside billboard after the loss of her son.

Following the overdose death of her son, Lenora Lada paid to put up a billboard in the Marietta, Ohio to raise awareness about the Good Samaritan laws. She takes this action in hopes that other mothers may not have to grieve as she does.

Trey’s Life Mattered

The sign Lada bought shows a picture of her son, Trey Moats, and reads,

“His Life Mattered: No Excuse For Not Calling 911 or taking someone to a hospital,”

Trey’s mother had known about his struggles with addiction but had felt helpless as her 26-year-old child was unwilling to get the help he needed.

Then one day at 3:26 in the morning, she got a call from her son’s friends. Trey had been in a car with these friends when his lips turned blue as he overdosed, so they had driven him to another friend’s house to ask a mother there to perform CPR. But because they were too afraid to call 911, they called Trey’s mother instead and told her to come and get him. Lenora Lada states that by the time she arrived, her son was on the ground already gurgling.

By the time Lada arrived at her son’s side, it had already been 20-25 minutes. When she asked if someone had called 911, she was told by the other mother,

“No, I don’t want the squad and the sheriffs coming to my house again.”

Lada demanded that the daughter call 911, but Moats ultimately died at the hospital of multiple organ failures due to cardiac arrest and polysubstance abuse. Ever since that tragic and heartbreaking moment, Lenora Lada is determined to make sure people know that her son’s life mattered, as do the lives of other victims of overdose. The billboard also states:

“3/10 Mile could have saved Trey’s life.”

Lada believes a call to emergency responders could have saved her son. The sheriff’s report, however, states it is unclear if her son would have survived even if he was taken to the hospital. Local news reports that one coroner said Trey would have been brain dead, but another coroner did not seem so sure.

One thing is for sure though, Trey’s life did matter. And whether or not it was certain to make a difference, something more should have been done to try and save this young man’s life. That is why now Lada is also focused on raising awareness for Good Samaritan laws in Ohio.

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Good Samaritan Awareness 

According to the Good Samaritan law:

  • Authorities cannot prosecute anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose
  • Protects the person overdosing from prosecution
  • Immunity is only good two times
  • The law is not applicable to people on parole

Ohio’s Good Samaritan laws also require a survivor of an overdose to obtain a drug treatment referral within 30 days in order to avoid charges. This measure is in place with hopes to show more people who do suffer from addiction there are opportunities to seek help.

The intention of Good Samaritan laws is to reduce the hesitation to get help from bystanders who witness an overdose. These laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with different interactions with other legal principals. But in essence, they are meant to prevent unnecessary overdose deaths by trying to take the fear of punishment out of the situation.

Lada also believes she would like part of the law to be changed, stating,

“I am asking for people to be accountable for not getting them help,”

What exactly that would look like is unclear, but for a mom who lost her son, it is an understandable sentiment. In many cases, there have been voices of support for charging drug dealers who sell to overdose victims with murder. So if this were to happen, what kind of punishment should someone face for not reporting an overdose?

Good Samaritan laws exist to help prevent deaths due to drug use, and there should be more of an effort to encourage people to report overdoses. Far too many sons and daughters are lost every day to drug overdoses. We should be taking every action we can to avoid more of the same. To defeat drug-related death requires prevention, education, and effective addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, do not hesitate. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

In the News: Atty General Holder Calls Heroin an Urgent “Public Health Crisis”

In the News: Atty General Holder Calls Heroin an Urgent “Public Health Crisis”

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder is calling the alarming increase in heroin-related overdose deaths an “urgent and growing public health crisis.” Holder is also calling for first responders to carry Narcan, a heroin antidote that, if administered promptly, can reverse the effects of an overdose.

“Addiction to heroin and other opiates, including certain prescription pain-killers, is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results,” Holder said in the message.

According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of heroin overdose deaths increased by 45% between 2006 and 2010. Such staggering statistics have recently prompted several state governors to speak out the impact of heroin on their communities and enact programs in an attempt to address the problem.

This latest message from the Attorney General Holder in which he showed public support for wide accessibility for a heroin antidote that could be used to rescue overdosing drug users mirrors the White House drug policy office’s position. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has also urged all first responders to have Narcan on hand. At least 17 states and the District of Columbia allow naloxone — commonly known by the brand name Narcan — to be distributed to the public, and bills are pending in some states to increase access to it.

Those advocating for the increased accessibility of Narcan say it can potentially save a lot of lives. The drug, which comes in both a spray and injectable form, can reverse a heroin overdose if it’s administered within a certain window. Critics of this policy say that making the antidote too accessible would only encourage drug use.

Holder said that law enforcement is also combatting the heroin problem and that efforts are being made to address supply and demand. Namely, by cutting off the supply chain that illegally supplies prescription painkillers to drug addicts. Holden admitted that more work is needed that focuses on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction.

“Confronting this crisis will require a combination of enforcement and treatment. The Justice Department is committed to both,” he said.

Groups like the Drug Policy Alliance, which speak out about the failure of the war on drugs, advocate for the wider accessibility of Narcan and want to see it go further than just having first responders carry the antidote. The organization said in a statement that it believes the antidote should be made available to anyone who might be in a position to witness an overdose, such as a friend or relative of an addict.

They are also calling for the Justice Department to support better education when it comes to substance abuse and promote “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from prosecution when they call the police to report an overdose or transport a friend who is overdosing to the hospital. Several states have already enacted these Good Samaritan laws. In the past, many people died from overdosing on heroin because those witnessing the overdose were afraid to call for help for fear of arrest and prosecution.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/holder-heroin-an-urgent-public-health-crisis/2014/03/10/3069c348-a8b3-11e3-8a7b-c1c684e2671f_story.html

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