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Community walks for ‘Good Samaritan’ drug law awareness

Posted: January 12, 2013 4:27 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2013 4:27 p.m.

A group of about 80 walk along Magic Mountain Parkway as they participate in the Good Samaritan Walk on Saturday in Valencia to raise awareness for California's new Good Samaritan overdose prevention law.

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Almost 100 community members gathered at Santa Clarita City Hall Saturday for an awareness walk to educate citizens about California’s new 911 Good Samaritan Law.

The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, encourages people to call emergency personnel if someone they are with overdoses on drugs or alcohol. In return, those who make the call may be spared prosecution for drug or alcohol offenses.

California is the 10th state to enact such legislation. The state law went into effect Jan. 1.

Cary Quashen, the founder of Action Family Counseling, said the law will help prevent unnecessary deaths.

“This is going to give people the protection they need so they will call for help when they need it,” Quashen said.

The event featured speeches from Quashen, city officials and several mothers who had children who died from drug overdoses. The assembled crowd then walked from City Hall down McBean and Magic Mountain parkways bearing signs about the law or displaying pictures of loved ones who have died from overdoses.

Krissy McAfee, a volunteer with Action who helped organize the walk, said the law empowers people to save someone’s life in case of a drug overdose.

“The problem has been that kids are afraid to call the police in case of an overdose because they’re afraid of being arrested,” McAfee said. “This law makes it so they don’t have to let their friends die.”

Sonja Coulter, whose daughter, Carlie, recently died from a heroin overdose, said she believed if someone had called for medical attention her daughter might still be alive today.

Coulter’s 12-year-old daughter, Chloe, carried a sign with Carlie’s picture on it.

“Call 911,” the sign read. “No one did for her.”
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