PENNSAUKEN NJ (January 27,2014)--A billboard supporting New Jersey’s Overdose Prevention Act has recently been erected on Route 130 North, Pennsauken near Connie Mac’s. Another billboard with a similar message will be seen in February on River Road, Camden City.
Patty DiRenzo of Blackwood, fought hard for a good samaritan law after her son, Salvatore, died of a drug overdose at the age of 27. To keep the topic in front of the public, DiRenzo contacted the owners of the billboards and asked them to discount what they usually charge for advertisements.
DiRenzo said, “Both companies responded to my email immediately and told me they would donate the cost for the advertisement. I would like to publicly thank Lisa DiFelice, VP/General Manager of Interstate Outdoor Advertising, Interstate Transit Media, along with Diane Curry, Executive Assistant of CBS Outdoor for their generosity.”
DiRenzo said the Act became law in May of 2013.
“I lost my son Salvatore Marchese to a heroin overdose in September of 2010. Sal was not alone when he overdosed but the person or persons with him did not call 911 for help, most likely for fear of arrest. My son was left alone to die. This is the reason that I began to speak out in New Jersey for passage of the 911 Good Samaritan Law. I advocated along with the Drug Policy Alliance for well over a year for this Bill. After many trips to the State House, many tears and sending daily letters to the Governor's Office I am happy to say that on May 2, 2013 Governor Christie signed into law the Overdose Prevention Act. I was invited by the Governor to speak at the signing along with Bon Jovi.”
The new measure provides immunity for witnesses and victims of drug overdoses in order to help get timely medical treatment. It also provides civil, criminal, and professional immunity for health care professionals involved in prescribing, dispensing, or administering naloxone or any similarly acting, FDA-approved drug for the treatment of an opioid overdose.
State lawmakers noted that naloxone is an inexpensive and easily administered antidote for an overdose of opioids such as morphine, heroin, OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. Specifically, naloxone is used to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally.
On the day of the signing Christie stated, “No life is disposable, and this bill represents a giant leap forward in New Jersey’s commitment to protecting and preserving all life, particularly when people need it most. As elected officials, it’s our obligation to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent tragic deaths from drug overdoses, and I believe this bill will do that."
“If people are no longer afraid of getting arrested in overdose situations, they will be more likely to call 911 and get help,” DiRenzo said. “This new law will save lives, and I am grateful to Governor Christie and the legislature for all their efforts in making it possible.”