A Santa Clarita mom who lost her son to a heroin overdose wants to make sure everyone is aware of a new law that could save lives.
Krissy McAfee’s son Daniel Trae Allen died in March 2010 of a heroin overdose. Her testimony the following month in front of the City Council helped spur action by city and law enforcement officials to fight the spread of heroin use locally.
The latest development in the fight is California’s passage of the 911 Good Samaritan Act, which will take effect Jan. 1, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law back in September. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill.
“What this bill will do is that if someone is with someone who’s overdosing, as long as they seek emergency care, they will not be charged for intoxication, or drug possession or any drug paraphernalia, as long as it’s a small amount for personal use,” McAfee said. “Also the person who’s actually OD’ing will not be charged either (for intoxication).”
What prompted the bill was statistics that showed when someone fatally overdoses, they’re usually not by themselves, said McAfee, who has become involved in substance-abuse advocacy since her son’s death.
“The person (with the overdose sufferer) will not normally call and get help because they’re afraid of getting arrested for drug possession,” McAfee said.
She also is hosting a 911 Good Samaritan Walk on Saturday, Jan. 12 from 1-3 p.m., and is asking that the community come out and show support to help fight heroin addiction in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is thought to be responsible for approximately 19 local deaths, either through suicide or overdose, when year-end figures are finally reported.
“It’s simply to make people aware of the bill, hopefully young teens and young adults will be aware of it,” McAfee said. “That seems to be who are most affected by this.”