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New Law Aims To Help Overdose Victims In New Jersey [VIDEO/AUDIO]

Legislation that provides legal protection to people who violate the law while they are attempting to help a drug overdose victim, and those who administer overdose antidotes, has been signed into law.

Governor Chris Christie, Jon Bon Jovi
Governor Chris Christie signs the bipartisan Overdose Protection Act (S2082) into law in Paterson, N.J. on Thursday, May 2, 2013. (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

“While it’s critically important that criminal and civil immunity be granted carefully and sparingly, this reworked and expanded law fits perfectly with my philosophy that no life is dispensable,” said Governor Christie during a visit to a drug rehab center in Paterson.

He pointed out there are presently no immunities whatsoever offered to overdose victims or those who are violating the law while attempting to assist an overdose victim, but this law will encourage witnesses and victims of overdose to act- to call for help – without fear of arrest and prosecution.

“It’s far more important to me, and it should be to everyone, that we get help quickly and save a life, rather than have someone fail to act out of fear of prosecution.”

The Governor said he believes drug abuse and addiction is a disease that can happen to anyone of us, from anywhere in this state, so we need to be tolerant and given everyone a second chance.

“A life saved from drug abuse can be a life restored, families can be spared the anguish of loss, a loss that could have been prevented,” said Christie.

Governor Christie & Jon Bon Jovi talk to patients at Turning Point in Paterson
Governor Christie & Jon Bon Jovi talk to patients at Turning Point in Paterson (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

Among those attending the bill signing ceremony was rocker and Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi, whose daughter almost died from a drug overdose last year.

“This is a law that will truly affect the lives of many across our state, and also affect many of the families of those across our state,” said Bon Jovi. “I hope that Governor Christie’s actions were will cause other states to stand up and pay attention and also to follow in his footsteps.”

Christie thanked the rock star, saying Bon Jovi is one of those celebrities who gets involved in causes; he doesn’t just look for a sound byte or for a clip on the news, he doesn’t just write a check, he actually gets involved and on this issue and others, he’s been extraordinarily involved personally.

“I consider him a friend and I’m glad he’s willing to be helpful on things he’s interested in and it’s great for the state,” Christie said.

“It’s another great symbol for our state of someone who’s from here, who has great talent, and who works extraordinarily hard to make the most of that talent and then shares his success.”

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Courtesy Governor’s Office

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