Dear Chief Daniel Varrenti of the Brockport Police

Dear Chief,

 We are an advocacy organization in New York State. We work to raise awareness and educate the public regarding the opioid health crisis in addition to advocating for policy change to help turn this epidemic around.

Last week I read a news story that you had decided to arrest an overdose victim after someone else called 911 to obtain help for him.

I lost my oldest son to an overdose. Unfortunately, I know many parents who have lost children to an overdose.

There are so many issues here to discuss. First and foremost is that we all know that addiction is a disease that truly affects a person’s ability to make good decisions. Surely, you have seen this yourself. Secondly, sadly, in New York state and even across the country, it is very difficult for a person to obtain help if they try.

The goal of the 911 Good Samaritan Law and the use of Naloxone is to save as many lives as possible until effective help can be offered or be readily available to them. I may be wrong, but I believe the law does in fact protect both the caller and the victim. Here is a copy of a poster that promotes the law and calling 911 and you can see that it states it protects the caller and the victim. You can also see how many New York State Agencies participated in the creation of the promotional poster. Are they all wrong?

If it does not provide protection for the victim by letter of the law, certainly the intent was to protect both parties. The specific intent of the law was to reduce overdoses by providing protection if you sought help.

 To choose to arrest the victim of an overdose flies in the face of the intent of the law. We are very concerned that your decision could cost the lives of many people because now they will fear arrest of themselves or the very person they are trying to help.

 We are asking that you drop your charges and also make a public statement with your change of heart so that hopefully enough people will see it and trust they can seek help for someone who has overdosed.

The last thing I would want is for another parent to go through the grief, pain and sadness I and many of my friends have gone through.

Please let us know as soon as possible what you intend to do.

Thank you,
Posted in Access to Treatment, Advocacy, Political Advocacy and tagged , , , , , .