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What’s more important? Arresting, or saving lives?

Lawmakers ponder immunity in overdose cases

Springfield (AP) – Kathie Kane-Willis faced a life-and-death dilemma: Her boyfriend’s lips were blue. He was going into cardiac arrest from a drug overdose. Would she be arrested if she called the authorities for help?

If a law had been in place offering legal immunity to drug users who overdose and the person who calls for medical assistance to save them, Kane-Willis would have had an easier decision.

Along with the parents of overdose victims, she now is one of the principal advocates of a bill moving through the Illinois General Assembly that would offer that immunity

This should not even be a minor controversy. It should be approached as an unfortunate error in the crafting of existing laws, that left in place the fear of being prosecuted for doing the right thing and helping save someone’s life.

After all, what’s the worst that happens by allowing this bill to pass? Some people who were involved in a drug transaction in some way will avoid arrest at the time they are helping save someone’s life. Is that such a loss to society?

Who could oppose such a thing?

Originally, the bill had no limits for the amount of drugs emergency callers could possess and still earn immunity. But the bill was changed in the Senate to limit the amounts of possession — for example, to less than three grams of a substance containing heroin. […]

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police prefers offering legal immunity solely to the person who overdoses. Instead of immunity for callers, they suggest the matter be left to the discretion of judges, who could take the caller’s actions into account when sentencing for drug

“By doing the right thing, you’re going to be rewarded with the fact that you did the right thing,” said Laimutis Nargelenas, a lobbyist for the chiefs organization. “So it’s a personal issue. And the prosecutor and the judge can take that into consideration.”

Ah, yes. Whenever something comes up in Illinois that could involve saving some lives but might cut into the profits or easy arrests for the police, you can always count on Limey Nargelenas lobbying for the police chiefs against saving lives.

Talk about easy arrests – distraught people at the emergency room.

I’m sure the police chief lobbying fund doesn’t care if some more druggies die. Particularly not when it means they can pad their arrest records and get more funding.

VANCOUVER — A batch of extra-strength heroin is on a deadly rampage in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the B.C. Coroners Service warned Thursday.

“Heroin being dealt to users in some areas is at least twice as potent as usual,” the coroners service advised, citing 20 heroin overdose deaths so far in 2011, double the number of deaths last year.

Drug users should “never be alone when ingesting drugs, and where possible (should) use available community services such as INSITE or needle exchanges,” the coroners service warned.

Those 20 overdose deaths are directly attributable to prohibition; they would not have happened in a legalized and regulated system.

But at least in Vancouver, they seem to understand that harm reduction is better than the “arrest at all costs” mentality in Illinois.

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11 comments to What’s more important? Arresting, or saving lives?

  • kaptinemo

    Considering that the early progenitors of drug prohibition were eugenicists, practitioners of ‘Social Darwinism’, no one should be surprised at the attitude of ‘kill the druggies off’ prevalent in American society, as it was in America the eugenics laws were first crafted. Hitler admitted he took his cues on ‘racial purity’ and extinguishing ‘lives not worth living’ from us.

    So…the prohibs are in very good company, indeed. Thinking of people as if they were like cattle to be bred. And ‘putting down’ those who don’t meet their twisted ideals of racial, ethnic and societal perfection…using the law to do so.

    Der Fuhrer and his cronies are smiling from Hell.

  • darkcycle

    “By doing the right thing, you’re going to be rewarded with the fact that you did the right thing,…”
    And you can reflect on your good deed from the cold darkness of you cell. And think of the good you’ve done throughout your long and arduous legal process. And then the years of your penalty, and the forced “treatment” you’ll endure.
    After that you’ll be in a proper State of mind next time someone in your circle overdoses, when you’ll turn your back and walk quickly away.
    Pete, they fully intend for as many of these cases to end in death as possible. It rewards them with the statistics they then use to perpetuate the war on drugs. Laimutis Nargelenas is just protecting his arguments.

    • Duncan20903

      WTF kind of name is “Laimutis Nargelenas”? It sounds like an alien from a science fiction story.

      “As we landed on the straight plains of the planet Argentus Minor we could see the welcoming party approaching, headed up by their inhuman dictator, Laimutis Nargelenas. It was still quite a shock trying to assimilate creatures as ugly as the Argentians, and Laimutis was a particularly hideous specimen of the denizens of this dark world. The grotesque black drool that rolled out of what posed as an Argentian’s mouth, the single, staring eye in their foreheads that seemed to drill into our very souls, and their 6 insect like legs were rather hard to ignore. Only those with the strongest stomachs qualified for missions to Argentus Minor because the Argentians regarded vomiting as a purposeful insult and would promptly devour those unable to control their gag reflex. Despite our training this fate would befall fully 2 of 5 of all who finished training and encountered these beings, their foul smell not helping matters at all. But we had been told that they were quite civilized as long as we weren’t users of psychotropic drugs or inclined to vomit upon encountering them.”

  • Peter

    This how the Illinois Association of Police Chiefs is described on Nargelenas’ Zoominfo entry:

    “Company Description: We are the professional organization of Chiefs of Police and other leaders of Police and Public Safety Organizations in the State of Illinois. We value: Compassion Integrity Accountability Fairness Professionalism Innovation Continuous Improvement Diversity Inclusion We aim to earn and maintain the unqualified respect of the people our members serve and protect, and to be respected leaders in our communities, our state, our nation, and internationally.”
    Note the ironic use of “public safety, compassion, fairness, diversity, respect, serve and protect.”

  • DdC

    Medical Marijuana Fails Again in Illinois House
    For the second time in 2011, the Illinois House has voted down a bill to allow chronically ill citizens to use medical marijuana to treat their maladies.

    “I don’t discount the pain and suffering that’s going on out there it was a tough vote,” said Rep. Jim Watson, R-Jacksonville, who voted against the measure. “One of my ( local ) chiefs of police is a retired DEA agent in Jacksonville, and he was gravely concerned. Every local law enforcement official called me in opposition.”

    We must have cncern for he message it sends to the… cops?
    Much better people suffer agonizing pain and spasms.
    Than gun toting cops getting all confuseded.

    Go SC! Our mascott is a banana slug…

    FDA Approves Study of Cannabis for PTSD
    The long-maligned field of U.S. medical cannabis research took a step forward with the formal government approval of a study on the efficacy of marijuana to treat chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in war veterans.

    Dr. Rick Doblin, executive director of the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in Santa Cruz, Calif., said today in an interview that the Food and Drug Administration on April 28 approved MAPS’ protocol for a study of smoked and vaporized marijuana use for symptoms of PTSD.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    One set of statistics I enjoy posting in response to the hysterical rhetoric of Know Nothing prohibitionists concerning the consequences of allowing doctors to decide if medicinal cannabis is an appropriate therapeutic substance for a particular patient is the rates of people in treatment in California between 1996 and 2009. 1996 is of course the last year where California didn’t protect patients using medicinal cannabis on a doctor’s rec, and 2009 is the last year for which SAMHSA has published statistics at this time.

    Since 1996 the rate of Californians in “treatment” for anything has fallen almost 10%, from 172,277 of 31,878,000 in 1996 to 180,864 of 36,961,664 in 2009. California’s millions of unregistered guests are not included in the statistics so the rate of residents in “treatment” likely fell more than the statistics show. Well, unless you’re willing to conceded that the number of unregistered guests have fallen in that time period, but that thought just doesn’t fit in very well with the hysterical rhetoric produced by the rampant xenophobes in relation to unauthorized immigration, now does it?

    The number of Californians in “treatment” for opioid addiction has fallen 46.88%, from 69,092 in 1996 to 36,702 in 2009.

    The number of Californians in treatment for cocaine addiction fell 15.48%, from 17,947 in 1996 to 15,169 in 2009.

    The number of Californians in “treatment” for drinking alcohol + a ‘secondary drug’ fell 33.72% from 29,849 in 1996 to 19,784 in 2009.

    http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/webt/quicklink/ca96.htm
    http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/webt/quicklink/ca09.htm

    Recently Illinois rejected protecting medicinal cannabis users ostensibly because they didn’t want to “be like California.” The statistics tell me they must be gibbering idiots if they’d rather not cut addiction rates simply because of the war against (some) drugs dogma.

    Next up, the rates of Illinoisans in “treatment” for all and selected addictions since the Know Nothings in Illinois don’t want to “be like California.”

    The population of Illinois rose from 11,847,000 in 1996 to 12,910,409 in 2009, or 8.98%.

    The total number of Illinoisans in “treatment” for anything increased from 29,676 in 1996 to 70,378 in 1996, a total increase of 40,702 or 137.15%.

    The number of Illinoisans in “treatment” for opioid addiction rose a whopping 565.24% from 3139 in 1996 to 20,882 in 2009. Wow, Illinois must have been offering tax credits to junkies to entice them to move into the State.

    The number of Illinoisans in “treatment” for cocaine addiction rose from 7,178 in 1996 to 10,054 in 2009, an increase of 40.07%. So far Illinois is the only State who’s numbers I’ve run that has managed to see an increase in this category.

    The number of Illinoisans in “treatment” for drinking alcohol + a ‘secondary drug’ increased from 5,547 in 1996 to 10,487 in 2009, an increase of 89.06%.

    Based on the statistics I’d think that the people of Illinois would want to be like any State other than Illinois. Their pathetic showing in their inability of dealing with their addiction problem should be a source of absolute shame for their residents. Yet the clowns in charge of their public policy seem content with letting their State’s addiction problem fester and increase. It’s beyond mind boggling that so many authorities cling to public policies which are proven failure in the past, and guaranteed failure in the future. The most ludicrous thing about the attitude of these public policy makers is they don’t want to try something different because it “might” fail. What kind of abject stupidity prefers guaranteed failure over the possibility of success, because the possibility of success comes with the possibility of failure? When these authorities show up in their clown car in full clown face claiming that they want to “deal with their State’s addiction problem,” the residents should boo them out of the tent. They’re not only failures as public policy makers, they aren’t even good for laughs as the clown show that they are. Clowns are supposed to be funny, not pathetic examples of human flotsam.

    Pete’s software doesn’t like too many links, so if you want the SAMHSA data for Illinois change the urls posted above from ca96.htm to il96.htm or ca09.htm to il09.htm. Also works for all the other States and years for which SAMHSA has published statistics as well.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    One of the most ironic statistical comparisons that I’ve bumped into on this journey is comparing the crime rates of California to the crime rates of Illinois for the same time period. Despite the night and day difference of in “treatment” rates between California and Illinois the goddamn crime statistics are for all practically identical.

    California:
    1996 population 31,878,000

    crime index:……. 5,207.8
    violent crime:…….. 862.7
    property crime:.. 4,345.1
    .
    .

    2009 population: 36,961,664

    crime index:…… 3,203.5… -38.49%
    violent crime:……. 472.0…. -45.29%
    property crime:.. 2,731.5… -37.14%

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/cacrime.htm
    .

    Illinois:

    1996 population: 11,847,000

    crime index:……. 5,315.8
    violent crime:…….. 886.2
    property crime:… 4,429.6
    .
    .

    2009 population: 12,910,409

    crime index:…….. 3,234.1… -39.16%
    violent crime:………. 497.2… -43.90%
    property crime:…. 2,736.9… -38.21%

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/ilcrime.htm

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well you know, somebody just whispered in my ear and told me that crime rates have gone down significantly nationwide in the 1996-2009 time frame, and that even with those decreases California could still be faring worse, perhaps because of passing the CUA. Fair enough, let’s take a look, shall we? For the US as a whole:
    .
    .

    1996 population: 265,284,000

    crime index:……. 5,087.6
    violent crime:…….. 636.6
    property crime:… 4,451.0
    .
    .

    2009 population: 307,006,550

    crime index:……. 3,465.5… -31.88%
    violent crime:…….. 429.4… -32.55%
    property crime:… 3,036.1… -31.79%

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    Well there’s the numbers. Do with them what you will.

  • Buc

    Their gutlessness and lack of shame knows no bounds.

    He is an embarrassment to humanity.

  • vickyvampire

    There’s nothing to ponder,folks give immunity but these nincompoops, who I know think they are compassionate and the cats meow in other area’s are to hell with folks who for whatever reason choose to use drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.
    Oh and Illinois rejected protecting Cannabis users cause they did not want to be like CA, Yeah maybe CA is wild and wacky state but at least lots of folks are getting pain relief, somewhat there instead of drip, drip waiting for paint to dry in slow decision in making meanwhile your citizens wither away.
    Yup Duncan good word for it hysterical rhetoric, Here is another story that may be a possible decision made under hysteria Here is Link:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/05/09/2011-05-09_new_jersey_considers_bill_that_would_ban_photographing_children_lawmakers_weigh_.html?r=news

    If you read comments on this lawmakers,just never think of surrounding implications. Just so very Damn Sad.

    I take Calif, at least they are doing SOMETHING.