A Manchester man who was revived by emergency medical personnel following a suspected heroin overdose will not face drug charges because of New Jersey’s Overdose Prevention Act, though he has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child under his care at the time.
Police responded to a Briar Hill Apartments residence the night of Tuesday, April 22, 2014, to find John E. Redden III, 28, unresponsive. Redden was visiting a friend’s apartment when the apparent heroin overdose occurred. That friend called authorities for help and faces no charges related to the incident.
Emergency medical personnel administered Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, which is believed to have saved Redden’s life. Upon investigation, police found six wax folds of heroin on Redden, but he will not face drug charges under the Overdose Prevention Act signed into law on May 2, 2013.
According to the state Office of the Attorney General, the overarching purpose of the Overdose Prevention Act is to encourage persons to seek immediate medical assistance whenever a drug overdose occurs. In the past, there have been instances where persons were reluctant or unwilling to call authorities for help for fear that this might lead to an arrest or prosecution for illegal drug use or possession.
But Redden, who was in the care of his two-year-old son at the time of the suspected overdose, was charged with a single count of 2nd degree endangering the welfare of a child because the Overdose Protection Act does not provide immunity for all crimes. Bail for Redden was set at $35,000 with no 10 percent option.