Photo for illustrative purposes
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Downtown Safford has been likened to Main Street U.S.A., and like the rest of the country, Safford’s neck of the woods is struggling with the repercussions of opiate addiction.
On Sunday, paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance treated a heroin overdose victim on W. Main Street. Among the Downtown shops and restaurants, a man’s life was nearly lost after he injected heroin into his right arm.
Paramedics revived the victim prior to the arrival of Safford officers, who gathered two syringes and a silver spoon, all with drug residue.
While drug paraphernalia was located at the scene and the overdose victim reportedly acknowledged injecting himself with heroin, due to the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act no charges will be brought against the man.
Governor Doug Ducey signed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act on Jan. 25 2018, and it went in effect April 26, 2018. While the 69-page act addresses many issues, including sober living homes, education for medical students, prescribing of opioids and more, the act also created a Good Samaritan provision, which excludes those seeking medical help from prosecution for drugs or drug paraphernalia located by police at that time.
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3423 deals with the prohibited prosecution of Good Samaritans. It states, “A person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia or a preparatory offense if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.”
Section B continues, “A person who experiences a drug-related overdose, who is in need of medical assistance and for whom medical assistance is sought pursuant to subsection A of this section may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s overdose and need for medical assistance.”
There are a variety of local institutions which assist those seeking recovery from drug use. Read more about Community Medical Services, Awakening Recovery Center, or Canyonlands Healthcare Safford by clicking on their links. Additional information can also be had by contacting the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition, which encourages friends and family to carry Narcan to save lives which can be turned around from the scourge of drug addiction.