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Massena police chief reminds individuals of Good Samaritan Law

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MASSENA - Massena’s police chief is reminding individuals of a law that could protect individuals from being prosecuted for underage possession of alcohol or small amounts of drugs.

Timmy J. Currier said that, under the state’s 911 Good Samaritan Law, individuals and an overdose victim are protected from prosecution for underage possession of alcohol and for holding, or sharing without compensation or benefit, small amounts of drugs.

The law, however, does not protect people who are in possession of eight ounces or more of narcotics, or those who sell drugs, including marijuana.

While those individuals are not protected from arrest and prosecution, judges can consider lesser sentences for individuals who seek medical attention for overdose victims even if the full immunity provisions do not apply to them.

Mr. Currier said the law is designed to encourage people to call 911 to save someone’s life in the event of an alcohol or drug overdose.

“We know the drug problem in our community has grown in recent years,” he said in an emailed statement. “To effectively deal with it, enforcement and prevention efforts must go hand in hand. We also must ensure that deaths caused by overdose are prevented when possible and this law goes a long way in that effort by allowing those with small amounts of drugs to call 911 and save someone’s life without fear of prosecution.”

“Drug use is an unfortunate reality these days. With drug use comes abuse and the risk of overdose, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve said in an emailed statement.

“We have seen evidence in our communities of families stricken by the needless loss of life due to overdose. New York State’s Good Samaritan Law is designed to encourage people to seek help for a suspected overdose victim by removing the threat of arrest and prosecution for the possession of small amounts of drugs,” she said.

“My office is proud to work hand in hand with Chief Currier and the Massena Drug-Free Coalition to spread the word about the Good Samaritan law and encourage people to call for help. Together we can all work to save lives,” Ms. Duve said.

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