“Steven’s Law 2021”
We purpose that “Steven’s Law”, named after my 18-year-old son Steven Loza be created and made into a nationwide law. This law will transform how addiction is seen by our youth and change the mindset of fear behind calling for help, while making those that leave someone to die out of fear not seeking help copiable for their part in loss of life. My son was with two adults 19 and 23 when he died of fentanyl poisoning. These two did not call 911 when my son stopped breathing, did not use the Narcan they had in their possession nor did they ask for help from the mother of the 19-year-old in the main house. He refused to allow anyone to seek help OUT OF FEAR! My son died that night and was left dead on the floor from anywhere from 7-9 hours before police were called. There is no proof he gave the drugs to my son, although he admitted it in my home and is facing ZERO consequences for the loss of my son’s life. Steven’s Law would change the perspective, shift the fear and ultimately create REAL change for those using drugs.
Steven’s Law – It is a criminal offense engaging in illicit drug use with someone and not seek help when distress is clear or signs of distress that would cause a reasonable person to believe overdose is imminent. It is also a crime to call then leave them alone, not advising first responders what drugs were ingested and how much was consumed. This should be considered negligent manslaughter. This should be punishable by 1-2 years of mandated in patient treatment along with 500 hours of community service once released. These hours will be directly given to the community speaking of their experience, helping those beginning the program of treatment and creating education programs for them to educate our youth.
Please allow me to explain:
I realize there are campaigns for drug induced homicide. However, many do not believe that prison is the solution to small time drug dealers or addiction overall. Addiction in our country WILL NOT improve with throwing everyone in prison. Addiction is a disease, for many as my son it began from trauma and is a form of self-medicating such trauma and mental health issues. Prison does not address trauma or mental health and if they do it is minimal and not adequate.
I can share many stories where someone is dead because those, they were with were scared and leave them or do not call for help out of fear of getting trouble, it is astonishing just how many. Unless we shift that fear our youth are going to continue to die at alarming numbers, the time for real change to have a chance to stop this epidemic is TODAY. The fear needs to shift from “I will get in trouble if I call” to, “if I don’t call, he could die and I am in even bigger trouble”. Just as a mother can take an infant to a fire station and be absolved of abandonment charges, because she FEELS SAFE to make that difficult choice. Our youth MUST feel safe to call for help in order to encourage them to call. They must know if they call there will not be trouble if they are under the influence as well. The cost of the lives of our youth are far more valuable. Our youth deserve and need us to start making changes. They are worth fighting for and let’s be honest they ARE the future of this country.
Punishment: Consider this
- The first treatment of drug treatment does not need to be as costly as a incarceration.
- Recovering addicts tend to commit fewer costly crimes and be arrested less often, reducing the price of incarceration.
- The long-term health of each individual is improving as a result of the healthcare reform, so the cost of healthcare for uninsured patients is decreasing significantly.
- If crime rates fall and fewer arrests occur, costs of law enforcement and court fees may be reduced.
Taking drugs as a second offense would save $4.8 billion over time if ten percent of drug offenders were treated first instead of being imprisoned. If 40 percent of drug offenders received treatment instead of jail time, the government would be able to save $12.9 billion. (https://dualdiagnosis.org/drug-rehab-instead-of-prison-could-save-billions-says-report-2/ )
Our country needs to start addressing addiction with eyes wide open and a change of attitude about recovery over prison. We can not continue to ignore or put a bandage over it and call it good. It is not good; our children and young adults are dying to this disease at an epic rate. We are proposing that anyone found guilty of negligent manslaughter for leaving someone to die while participating in illicit drug use be sentenced to 1-2 years of inpatient treatment and 500 hours of community service upon leaving, to be completed within 2 years. This allows many things to happen. It makes them accountable for their choices and lack of action resulting in death. It gives them the ability to work through any trauma, mental health issues and give them a chance at a sober, successful and productive life and member of the community. It relieves our already strained prison system, in which they come out with no skills to change what got them there to begin with. It reduces the odds of further crimes of this nature being committed and increases the odds of success. The 500 hours of community service would go right back to the community. Developing a program for FREE public speaking to schools, treatment centers or anywhere needed to educate our youth and young adults of the real dangers of drugs in todays world. Kids listen to realness, when they know someone has been through it and is authentic, they connect and engage. Those who are successful in treatment and remain sober while doing community service are now in the position to work in the treatment facilities and be trained as addiction specialists. This is all much needed services at no cost to the community. When someone has to share the story of how their drug use and lack of action cost someone their life, saying their name over and over, sharing their story over and over... it does something to them. It makes it real and this is what is so powerful as to what they can offer our kids and the community overall by speaking.
Addicts are not bad people; addicts make bad choices. We have to start treating the disease and this epidemic as we treat any disease in this country. People do not come out of prison better and our return rates more than prove this. Our youth and young adults are scared and this fear is costing lives; like my child’s.
In closing; we must change the perspective and shift the fear if we want to save lives. It CANNOT continue to be okay that you watch someone die out of fear and there are no consequences to that. Families are being destroyed by this; as countless mothers like myself are burying our children, while these people continue on with life. Often continuing the same behavior risking even more lives. Long term treatment including dual diagnosis to deal with the real reason someone starting using, reduces the odds of future drug related crimes. Community service hours will provide FREE education to our youth and other programs, provide hours in the treatment centers they once attended and creates accountability in the long term. It is not going to stop until we make it stop by changing the thoughts of those that are leaving our loved ones to die. Until we educate the kids and truly make a difference.
Addiction is not about status, economics, or politics… it is about people and any family no matter your religion, financial status, or political beliefs can be faced with the trauma of addiction, which if not treated can result in death. We need to come together as people, as moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and friends and do all we can to save as many lives as we can.
Thank you for your support in getting “Steven’s Law” where it needs to be!
Forever Steven’s mother