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Shouldn't get arrested for saving a life

Discussion in '~ Articles ~ Info ~ Links ~ Data ~' started by cory, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. cory

    cory Well-Known Member

    My cousin attends NYU and for some public policy debate he was making the argument about law enforcement being the least effective method to deal with drug abuse. He asked me what I thought about the subject, knowing my struggle with addiction and run ins with "the law". I wrote him back agreeing that treatment is what should be focused on, as opposed to punishment for minor drug offenders.

    Anyways.. I cited this argument, which may be overlooked by many who are not familiar, and figured I would post here...




    During my time as a junkie, I have witnissed multiple people overdose on opiates, while using intraveinously. This is not a violent occurance, quite the opposite, said person gos into respatory failure. they simply "nod out" (fall asleep), and their breathing becomes slow and labored, until it ultimately stops. Unless emergency resuscitation and some form of opiate antagonist (blocking the opiate receptors) such as naloxone (narcan) is administered QUICKLY, the person will die.

    Well most junkies are not trained in CPR and do not carry loaded syringes with narcan in them. This leads to EMTs being the chosen route when someone od's, clearly!

    The only problem is, when someone dials 911, the first to arrive on the scene are police officers. they are not trained to save lives, only to do their jobs, which is to arrest people. Obviously, in MOST situations where someone is unconscious due to drug overdose, SOMEONE around them is doing something illegal. This ranges from possesion of narcotics and paraphanelia, to simply having an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor offenses. Most cops are not sympathetic to the drug addicts plight, and will justify arrests as simply getting another "dope head off the streets".

    The end result? when someone overdoses and is in need of immediate medical attention. People around them, instead of being focused on getting help fast, are worried about "cleaning up" the area. removing any and all items that could get them in trouble, sometimes going as far as to drag the dying person out and away from their house, instead of being on the phone with 911 dispatchers. This wastes critical time that may decide whether someoen lives or dies, in other words, it makes you think twice about doing what needs to be done, and quickly!!

    This really happened to me. My girlfriend and I were arrested (me for a driving on suspended license warrant, her for possesion of oxycontin), when my friend Mike overdosed in the back seat of my car and we did the right thing and dialed 911 immediately. Cops got there and started harrasing us, asking questions (being cops!), and we were ultimately taken away. We saved his life (he was DOA, its in the police report!!), but it cost us our freedom.

    I realize most will never have to deal with this but surely it applys to some of you.



    www.myspace.com/kawi1000
     
  2. kunzite52

    kunzite52 Well-Known Member

    HI Cory,
    I remember when two people overdosed in a house in town here. My son was there. Everyone except my son bolted out the door! He pulled one kid down and started CPR. Then a brother or one of the family members came home and Mike told him how to do CPR on the other guy. He had called 911 when it happened. The mom came home and told Mike to get out of her house immediately, when he was in the middle of CPR on her kid. The cops came, Mike did not get arrested but he did not leave the kid, even when the mom was yelling at him. Both kids lived. From that day forward I lost all respect for the other 5 who ran out the door to leave those two for dead.

    It has always been my view that addicts need recovery, the mentally ill need psychiatry and the criminals belong in jail. However, there seems to be little distinction between these three types of people. Now here in my state there is a program. An advocate shows up at Court when someone who is mentally ill is being hauled in on charges. The advocate works to put the mentally ill person into a transitional program to get them back on their feet. Now we just need the same thing for addicts.

    I am glad you posted this. It has upset me for so long.
    annie

    Anne
     

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