This past weekend, Stephanie Bongiovi, the daughter of rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi, was one of two students arrested on drug charges on campus at Hamilton College. Paramedics responded to a call about a female who had supposedly overdosed on heroin and was unresponsive in a campus dorm building. When police arrived, they found a small amount of heroin and arrested Stephanie and another student for possession of a controlled substance. Ms. Bongiovi was taken to a hospital, where reports say she will be okay, and was expected to be released last night.
After initially hearing this, I was a bit confused, as New York passed a statewide 911 Good Samaritan policy in 2011. This policy serves to protect the victim and witness of a drug overdose, acting in good faith by making the call to paramedics, from criminal prosecution. So, I looked into it.
A Hamilton College representative returned my call this afternoon and confirmed that the charges against Ms. Bongiovi were dropped in accordance with NY state penal law sec. 220.78, a.k.a. the 911 Good Samaritan Policy.
This is great news to us at SSDP! We are very happy to hear that Stephanie will be free from criminal prosecution and protected under the statewide Good Samaritan policy. This is exactly why these policies exist. These life saving measures help individuals make the right choice and call for help by removing the hesitation factor that generally plagues a situation such as an (underage) alcohol or drug overdose. We are so happy to see that someone made the right decision in this instance, and made the call for help to save a life.