Narcan Opiate Overdose Emergency Kits Available for FREE

The Harm Reduction Coalition of of Asheville is providing much needed Narcan kits for those in need in Asheville.  They have kits that consist of two vials of Narcan and syringes with instructions, and they have a few kits of Narcan Auto injectors, for people who are not comfortable with needles.   You can buy Narcan kits at Pharmacies, but the auto injector kits are expensive, running $700-$800 .  This is life saving technology available for free.

Confidential Contacts for information and kits.

What is Narcan™ (naloxone)?

Narcan™ (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can very hard to wake them from this state. Narcan™ (naloxone) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse.

How does Narcan™ (naloxone) work? 

If a person has taken opioids and is then given Narcan™ (naloxone), the opioids will be knocked out of the opiate receptors in the brain. Narcan™ (naloxone) can help even if opioids are taken with alcohol or other drugs. After a dose of  Narcan™ (naloxone), the person should begin to breathe more normally and it will become easier to wake them. It is very important to give help to an overdosing person right away. Brain damage can occur within only a few minutes of an opioid overdose as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. Narcan™ (naloxone) gives concerned helpers a window of opportunity to save a life by providing extra time to call 911 and carry out rescue breathing and first aid until emergency medical help arrives.

Doesn’t a person need to be a medical professional to be able to spot a serious overdose and give Narcan™?  Research has shown that with basic training, nonmedical professionals, such as friends, family members or even concerned bystanders, can recognize when an overdose is occurring and give Narcan™ (naloxone), and in North Carolina, you are protected from civil liability for giving Narcan by the Good Samaritan Law.

 NCGS § 90-96.2 Good Samaritan/ Naloxone Access law, effective April 9, 2013, states that individuals who experience a drug overdose or persons who witness an overdose and seek help for the victim can no longer be prosecuted for possession of small amounts of drugs, paraphernalia, or underage drinking.  The purpose of the law is to remove the fear of criminal repercussions for calling 911 to report an overdose, and to instead focus efforts on getting help to the victim. The Naloxone Access portion of  NCGS § 90-96.2 removes civil liabilities from doctors who prescribe and bystanders who administer naloxone, or Narcan, an opiate antidote which reverses drug overdose from opiates, thereby saving the life of the victim.  NCGS § 90-96.2 also allows community based organizations to dispense Narcan under the guidance of a medical provider. As a result, officers may encounter people who use opiates and their loved ones carrying overdose reversal kits that may include Narcan vials, 3cc syringes, rescue breathing masks and alcohol pads.

Is the use of naloxone by non-medical people controversial?

No.  Recently the American Medical Association endorsed the training of lay people in the use of Narcan (naloxone) to prevent overdoses.  Also the director of Office of National Drug Control Policy,Gil Kerlikowski (the U.S. Drug Czar), remarked that naloxone distribution is a key component of overdose prevention.

Can Narcan™ (naloxone) harm a person?       

No. Narcan™ (naloxone) only affects people who are using opioids. If a person is not having an overdose but has been using opioids, Narcan™ (naloxone) will put them into immediate withdrawal. This can be very uncomfortable for the person, but is not life threatening.

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U.S. Attorney announces new limits on asset seizures.

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 16, 2015
Attorney General Prohibits Federal Agency Adoptions of Assets Seized by State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies Except Where Needed to Protect Public Safety
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order setting forth a new policy prohibiting federal agency forfeiture, or “adoptions,” of assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies, with a limited public safety exception.  A federally adopted forfeiture – or “adoption” for short – occurs when a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property pursuant to state law and requests that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which has its own forfeiture program, is issuing a policy consistent with the Attorney General’s order and that policy will apply to all participants of the Treasury forfeiture program, administered by the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture. “With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” said Attorney General Holder.  “This is the first step in a comprehensive review that we have launched of the federal asset forfeiture program.  Asset forfeiture remains a critical law enforcement tool when used appropriately – providing unique means to go after criminal and even terrorist organizations.  This new policy will ensure that these authorities can continue to be used to take the profit out of crime and return assets to victims, while safeguarding civil liberties.” The Attorney General ordered that federal agency adoption of property seized by state or local law enforcement under state law be prohibited, except for property that directly relates to public safety concerns, including firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography.  The prohibition on federal agency adoption includes, but is not limited to, seizures by state or local law enforcement of vehicles, valuables, cash and other monetary instruments.  This order is effective immediately and applies to all Justice Department attorneys and components, and all participants in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.  The new policy will ensure that adoption is employed only to protect public safety, and does not extend to seizures where state and local jurisdictions can more appropriately act under their own laws. Both the Justice and Treasury Departments regularly review their asset forfeiture programs to ensure that federal asset forfeiture authorities are used carefully and effectively to take the profit out of crime, combat organized crime groups, and enable victim compensation, while ensuring that laws are followed, civil liberties are protected, and our constitutional system is strengthened.  Since 2000, the Justice Department has returned approximately $4 billion in forfeited funds to victims of federal crime.  Both departments will be part of the Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group, which will provide recommendations to the President regarding actions that can be taken to improve programs, like asset forfeiture, that help local law enforcement obtain equipment. The Justice Department’s policy permitting federal agencies to adopt seizures dates from the inception of the Asset Forfeiture Program in the 1980s.  The Treasury Department’s adoption policy has been part of its Asset Forfeiture Program since its inception in 1993.  At the time that these policies were implemented, few states had forfeiture statutes analogous to the federal asset forfeiture laws.  Consequently, when state and local law enforcement agencies seized criminal proceeds and property used to commit crimes, they often lacked the legal authority to forfeit the seized items.  Turning seized assets over to federal law enforcement agencies for adoption was a way to keep those assets from being returned to criminals.  Today, however, every state has either criminal or civil forfeiture laws, making the federal adoption process less necessary.  Indeed, adoptions currently constitute a very small slice of the federal asset forfeiture program.  Over the last six years, adoptions accounted for roughly three percent of the value of forfeitures in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program. The new policy applies only to adoptions, not to seizures resulting from joint operations involving both federal and state authorities, or to seizures pursuant to warrants issued by federal courts.  The policy does not limit the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws.  Law enforcement agencies working on joint task forces are required to follow the 2015 Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. attorney_general_order_prohibiting_adoptions
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A dog sniff that prolongs the time reasonably required for a traffic stop violates the Fourth Amendment.

Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. __ (April 21, 2015). A dog sniff that prolongs the time reasonably required for a traffic stop violates the Fourth Amendment. After an officer completed a traffic stop, including issuing the driver a warning ticket and returning all documents, the officer asked for permission to walk his police dog around the vehicle. The driver said no. Nevertheless, the officer instructed the driver to turn off his car, exit the vehicle and wait for a second officer. When the second officer arrived, the first officer retrieved his dog and led it around the car, during which time the dog alerted to the presence of drugs. A search of the vehicle revealed a large bag of methamphetamine. All told, 7-8 minutes elapsed from the time the officer issued the written warning until the dog’s alert. The defendant was charged with a drug crime and unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence seized from his car, arguing that the officer prolonged the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion to conduct the dog sniff. The defendant was convicted and appealed. The Eighth Circuit held that the de minimus extension of the stop was permissible. The Supreme Court granted certiorari “to resolve a division among lower courts on the question whether police routinely may extend an otherwise-completed traffic stop, absent reasonable suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff.”

The Court reasoned that an officer may conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop, but “he may not do so in a way that prolongs the stop, absent the reasonable suspicion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an individual.” The Court noted that during a traffic stop, beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, an officer’s mission includes “ordinary inquiries incident to [the traffic] stop” such as checking the driver’s license, determining whether the driver has outstanding warrants, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance. It explained: “These checks serve the same objective as enforcement of the traffic code: ensuring that vehicles on the road are operated safely and responsibly.” A dog sniff by contrast “is a measure aimed at detect[ing] evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing.” (quotation omitted). It continued: “Lacking the same close connection to roadway safety as the ordinary inquiries, a dog sniff is not fairly characterized as part of the officer’s traffic mission.”

Noting that the Eighth Circuit’s de minimus rule relied heavily on Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977) (per curiam) (reasoning that the government’s “legitimate and weighty” interest in officer safety outweighs the “de minimis” additional intrusion of requiring a driver, already lawfully stopped, to exit the vehicle), the Court distinguished Mimms:

Unlike a general interest in criminal enforcement, however, the government’s officer safety interest stems from the mission of the stop itself. Traffic stops are “especially fraught with danger to police officers,” so an officer may need to take certain negligibly burdensome precautions in order to complete his mission safely. On-scene investigation into other crimes, however, detours from that mission. So too do safety precautions taken in order to facilitate such detours. Thus, even assuming that the imposition here was no more intrusive than the exit order in Mimms, the dog sniff could not be justified on the same basis. Highway and officer safety are interests different in kind from the Government’s endeavor to detect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular. (citations omitted)

The Court went on to reject the Government’s argument that an officer may “incremental[ly]” prolong a stop to conduct a dog sniff so long as the officer is reasonably diligent in pursuing the traffic-related purpose of the stop, and the overall duration of the stop remains reasonable in relation to the duration of other traffic stops involving similar circumstances. The Court dismissed the notion that “by completing all traffic-related tasks expeditiously, an officer can earn bonus time to pursue an unrelated criminal investigation.” It continued:

If an officer can complete traffic-based inquiries expeditiously, then that is the amount of “time reasonably required to complete [the stop’s] mission.” As we said in Caballes and reiterate today, a traffic stop “prolonged beyond” that point is “unlawful.” The critical question, then, is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the officer issues a ticket . . . but whether conducting the sniff “prolongs”—i.e., adds time to—“the stop”. (citations omitted).

In this case, the trial court ruled that the defendant’s detention for the dog sniff was not independently supported by individualized suspicion. Because the Court of Appeals did not review that determination the Court remanded for a determination by that court as to whether reasonable suspicion of criminal activity justified detaining the defendant beyond completion of the traffic infraction investigation.

Author:

Jessica Smith

W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor

School of Government

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

CB 3330, Knapp-Sanders Building

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3330

T: 919.966.4105  |  http://www.sog.unc.edu/user/150

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Can the government take my money without arresting me for anything?

Yes.  But it appears the Federal Government is putting the breaks on a policy and practice of routine civil forfeiture of suspected illegal proceeds.  If this has happened to you or someone you care about, call us.  Those seizures can be contested in court, and a judge can order the police to return your money.  Jeff Welty discussed the issue on the UNC school of government website in detail On Friday, January 20, 2015, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced major new limits on asset forfeiture. In a nutshell, he put a stop to the federal civil forfeiture of assets seized by state and local law enforcement and “adopted” under the Equitable Sharing program. The details are a little fuzzy, but this may be a very big deal in the world of forfeiture, for reasons Jeff Welty, UNC School of Government, discuss below. New_Limits_on_Forfeiture   Read more "Can the government take my money without arresting me for anything?"

Ignorance of the Law is no excuse, unless you are a police officer.

Supreme Court holds that reasonable mistake of law is excusable.  On the morning of April 29, 2009, Sergeant Matt Darisse of the Surry County Sheriff ’s Department sat in his patrol car near Dobson, North Carolina, observing northbound traffic on Interstate 77. Shortly before 8 a.m., a Ford Escort passed by. Darisse thought the driver looked “very stiff and nervous,” so he pulled onto the interstate and began following the Escort. A few miles down the road, the Escort braked as it approached a slower vehicle, but only the left brake light came on. Noting the faulty right brake light, Darisse activated his vehicle’s lights and pulled the Escort over.  As a result of the vehicle stop, which lead to a consent search, the driver and passenger were both charged with attempted trafficking of cocaine.  They challenged the stop, but plead guilty to drug charges. Full opinion of Supreme Court here. Bottom line: Even if police pull you for the wrong reason like speeding 35 in 25 and the speed limit is actually 45, the stop is probably still legal, if the judge finds the mistake is reasonable.  Unless it is a clear violation of your 4th amendment right to privacy.  "An officer’s mistaken view that the conduct at issue did not give rise to such a violation—no matter how reasonable—could not change that ultimate conclusion." Read more "Ignorance of the Law is no excuse, unless you are a police officer."

New Good Samaritan Law may be tested.

 Man drops off body at mission hospital.  His lips were blue. Every day in the United States, 113 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments (ED) for the misuse or abuse of drugs.[i] The State of North Carolina has recognized that sometimes the only people to witness an overdose are themselves using illegal drugs, and they may be afraid to call for help because they may get in trouble.  That is changing.  Good Samaritans have some legal protection in drug and alcohol overdose cases under a new law, as of April 2013 in North Carolina[ii].  If you witness someone experiencing an overdose from cocaine, heroin, or alcohol, and they need medical attention, call 911 for help and stay with them.  A new law that is designed to save lives, give protection to someone who acts in good faith to get medical treatment for someone experiencing a "drug-related overdose" meaning an acute condition, including mania, hysteria, extreme physical illness, coma, or death or conditions that a layperson would reasonably believe need immediate medical assistance.  The Good Samaritan shall not be prosecuted[iii] for misdemeanor drug possession, misdemeanor drug paraphernalia, felony possession of up to one gram of heroin or 1 gram of cocaine.  The same scheme applies to underage drinkers. When someone overdoses on opiates, including heroin, they may turn blue in their lips and nails, become unresponsive to screaming and shaking, stop breathing, have seizures and even die.[iv]  Sometimes they can be saved with an injection of Naloxone Hydrochloride, a fast acting opiate antagonist.  This law grants limited immunity to “anyone in a position to assist” who in good faith does assist by providing Naloxone to a person who overdoses on opiates. The related laws for underage drinking grant similar protections for underage drinkers who call for help for a friend who has drank too much, and needs medical help.  If you call for medical help under the good faith exception, you shall not be prosecuted for underage possession or consumption of alcohol. Bottom line, if someone needs immediate medical help, call for help.  When you call 911 for an ambulance, the police may come too.  The police may seize things they see in plain view that are contraband or illegal to possess, but at the end of the day, if you are a Good Samaritan acting in good faith to save someone from an overdose of heroin, cocaine or alcohol, you will not be prosecuted under the new laws.  Please tell your kids about this, they are the ones who are in real danger. Note: this is not blanket immunity from prosecution of all crimes.  The police will still do their job.  This new law gives limited immunity from some but not all drug crimes.  If you have questions, call us.  We are here to help. [i] http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/overdose/facts.html [ii] § 90-96.2 (possession of 1 gram or less of heroin, cocaine or related drug paraphernalia ) and§ 18B-302.2 (underage alcohol possession/consumption) [iii] http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S20v7.pdf [iv] Wikipedia Opioid Overdose Contact us. [contact-form subject='blog contact'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form] Read more "New Good Samaritan Law may be tested."