The Virginia attorney general and a Fairfax County father are coming together to urge lawmakers to attack the growing epidemic of heroin and opioid drug overdoses.
One proposal would offer limited criminal immunity to someone who is with a person during an overdose. The "safe reporting" or Good Samaritan provision would mean that person could for help without fear of arrest.
"This safe reporting law would encourage them to pick up the phone and call for help," explained Attorney General Herring. "The goal of these bills is to save lives."
Herring said the 2013 death of Fairfax County teen Emylee Lonczak underscored the need for the measure. Lonczak's body was found in a wooded area after she got a fatal overdose of heroin. The young men she was with knew she was in distress and never called for help.
Harring added he wants to expand a pilot program to allow law enforcement officers to give Naloxone to those suffering from an overdose. The antitode counters the potential deadly effects of drugs.
Another bill would take aim at drug dealers who sell heroin and other opioids that kill. It would strengthen the Commonwealth's laws and make the crime a felony homicide.
Don Flattery's 26-year-old son Kevin died five months ago following an opioid overdose. Since his death, Flattery has served on a task force that confronted the troubling numbers; 800 Virginians died of drug overdoses in 2012, while heroin overdoses jumped 164 percent in a 2-year time period.
"I believe they will have an immediate impact in saving lives and in removing predatory drug dealers from the streets," Flattery said.