Petition Tag - overdose

1. PRESIDENT OBAMA: ENDORSE HARM REDUCTION AS A PRAGMATIC, EVIDENCE-BASED AND PERSON-CENTERED POLICY

The United States is in the midst of a growing opioid overdose epidemic. This public health crisis claimed the lives of nearly 29,000 people in 2014 alone, and has made many communities across the country vulnerable to outbreaks of HIV and viral hepatitis. We call on President Obama, in his last year in office, to make drug policy reform part of his presidential legacy by explicitly endorsing and embracing harm reduction.

President Obama’s Administration will be remembered for leadership on criminal justice reform, expanding access to treatment and recovery through health care reform, and a commitment to a public health approach to drug problems. His Administration has supported and expanded access to critical and life-saving harm reduction strategies, including syringe exchange programs, overdose education and naloxone distribution, and medication-assisted treatment. However, President Obama has not yet directly affirmed the broader role of harm reduction itself as a vital element of a comprehensive drug strategy.

Silence on harm reduction leaves key elements of the Administration’s drug policy ambiguous and unclear, both globally at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs, and domestically for policymakers and communities across the country grappling with the overdose epidemic. In recent months, the President has highlighted his Administration’s efforts to tackle the prescription opioid and heroin crisis, challenging stigma and proposing evidence-based policies and investments. A stronger and clearer call for harm reduction from the White House would complement these initiatives. Ultimately, President Obama’s explicit endorsement of harm reduction would support and catalyze the work of community leaders, advocates and families to protect health and save lives.

2. Amend Wisconsin's 911 Good Samaritan Law

Calling 911 to save a life should NEVER be a crime. Currently Wisconsin’s 911 Good Samaritan law has too many loop holes and people continue to be arrested for trying to save a life from a drug overdose. We MUST amend the 911 Good Samaritan Law to increase the number of people whose lives are saved from a drug overdose.

Many Wisconsin families are losing their precious family members to a SENSELESS and PREVENTABLE drug overdose. Here’s why the amendments are needed:

The HOPE LAW (ACT 194) passed in April 2014:

* DOES NOT protect a person who is overdosing and in need of medical assistance from criminal charges or prosecution for possession of a controlled substance.

The HOPE LAW DOES NOT prevent arrest for:

* Probation & parole violations--BEING AROUND OR USING DRUGS IS A VIOLATION.
* Selling or giving another person controlled substances.
* Causing injury or death giving another person controlled substances
* Other non-drug related crimes, e.g. weapon possession, driving under the influence.

Thirty-six states including Wisconsin have enacted the 911 Good Samaritan Law to encourage people to call 911 in the event of a drug overdose. Currently, 15 states and Washington DC provide full immunity to someone on probation or parole, Wisconsin isn’t one of those states. Wisconsin’s 911 Good Samaritan Law is open to interpretation by law enforcement officers, as well as probation and parole officers.

3. Ohio 911 Fatal Overdose Prevention Law

​Accidental overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, exceeding even motor vehicle accidents among people ages 25 to 64. Many of these deaths are preventable if emergency medical assistance is summoned, but people using drugs or alcohol illegally often fear arrest if they call 911, even in cases where they need emergency medical assistance for a friend or family member at the scene of a suspected overdose.

The best way to encourage overdose witnesses to seek medical help is to exempt them from arrest and prosecution for minor drug and alcohol law violations, an approach often referred to as Good Samaritan 911.

The chance of surviving an overdose, like that of surviving a heart attack, depends greatly on how fast one receives medical assistance. Witnesses to heart attacks rarely think twice about calling 911, but witnesses to an overdose often hesitate to call for help or, in many cases, simply don’t make the call. In fact, research confirms the most common reason people cite for not calling 911 is fear of police involvement.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted policies to provide limited immunity from arrest or prosecution for minor drug law violations for people who summon help at the scene of an overdose. New Mexico was the first state to pass such a policy and has been joined in recent years by Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Good Samaritan laws do not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs, or driving while drugged. These policies protect only the caller and overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence.

4. Increase the age limit for purchasing analgesics and only allow sales via a chemist

Millions of people children and adults are allowed to buy analgesics too freely over the counter encouraging overdose and suicide.

Children as young as 14 are being allowed to buy 2 packs at a time over and over, at self service tills. Mainline tills prompt you to not sell more than 2 packs. The law needs to change as paracetamol alone can damage your liver with as little as 24 tablets.