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Law protects drug abusers from charges

Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-05 10:51:00-05

A woman who overdosed on heroin in the Cheektowaga police and court parking lot on Wednesday will not face drug charges. 

Investigators tell 7 Eyewitness News that's because of New York's Good Samaritan Law.  The law says when 911 is called for someone suffering from a drug- or alcohol-related medical emergency, neither the caller nor the patient will be charged. 

"Saving lives is far, far, far more important than prosecuting somebody for a minor drug offense," said Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty. 

The DA says when police respond to a Good Samaritan call they do confiscate any drugs or contraband, but cannot arrest someone. 

7 Eyewitness News cameras were rolling in Cheektowaga when first responders saved the woman's life with Narcan and again on Friday in Buffalo when a man was saved after overdosing and crashing into a parked car. 

It's unclear if charges will be filed in the Buffalo case. 

In 2015, Narcan was administered roughly 700 in Buffalo alone.