Charges Dropped Against Bon Jovi's Daughter After Heroin Overdose

Bump and Update 11/15/12 : The DA has dropped criminal charges against John Bon Jovi's daughter, Stephanie Bongiovi, and another student because of New York's Good Samaritan law.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said he was dismissing the charges against both students. Under state law, someone having a drug overdose or seeking help for an overdose victim can't be prosecuted for having a small amount of heroin or any amount of marijuana.

Original Post 11/14/12:

Sending good thoughts to the Bon Jovi family and daughter Stephanie Bongiovi, 19, who was charged with heroin possession after being found unresponsive in her dorm room at Hamilton College in New York Wednesday. Another student was also charged.

Ms. Bongiovi is alive because someone called for help. If people fear arrest, they are less likely to call 911. That's why New York and several other states have enacted a Good Samaritan law. Arrest and charges send the wrong message in these circumstances. [More...]

To save lives in New York, a new law was passed last year to prevent overdose fatalities. Called Good Samaritan 911, the law encourages people to call for emergency services in the event of an overdose by providing protections from charge and prosecution for possession of small amounts of drugs, and also protects against arrest for misdemeanor possession of residual amounts of drugs or paraphernalia. By providing these protections, people shouldn't have to fear arrest when calling 911 -- even if they possess small amounts of drugs. The "The benefit to be gained by the (law) -- saving lives -- must be paramount," wrote Governor Cuomo about the law.

...Based on current news reports, the Kirkland police should not have arrested Bongiovi and Grant. Their arrests send a message to the Hamilton College community and the general public that if you call for help, you'll be arrested. This message will cause people to hesitate to call for help when they need it, leading to unnecessary deaths. It doesn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way.

Saving lives should be the priority.

Saving lives should always take priority over punishing behavior. Today, Jon Bon Jovi's daughter Stephanie is alive because someone called for help. Let's make sure others know that they can and should do the same -- no one should be afraid to call for help.

Colorado enacted a Good Samaritan Law in May, 2012 to reduce drug and alcohol-related deaths. More here. A similar law went into effect in California in September. The other states with Good Samaritan laws are New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.

Gov. Christie of NJ vetoed the Good Samaritan bill in New Jersey. More states need these laws, and more people need to know about them.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Opiates are a beast (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Dadler on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:24:35 PM EST
    And so young to be so hooked. Sigh. Best to the family as they try to get this young lady healthy and on the road to sobriety.

    As we all know children (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by fishcamp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:12:22 PM EST
    of stars do seem to, often times, get into trouble.  Do we really know though if she was an addictÇ  My computer is doing very strange things with punctuation marks.  I have known several people in the past who have been caught with one joint or doing one line, often the first ever, and they get branded as being an addict and must suffer the arrest, jail time, fines, and rehab.  I guess this is the only way we have to handle the problem.

    You only hear about the children of stars (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:57:33 PM EST
    who have problems.  I would assume the vast majority of such kids are just fine, as the vast majority of kids are generally.  In this case, btw, the report is not about a line or a joint but about a heroin overdose.

    So if she'd been near dad' s home in NJ... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by unitron on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:25:07 PM EST
    ...instead of in NY, there would have been a greater disincentive for someone to call for help for her, thanks to Christie?

    In a year it'll be time to elect someone governor of NJ again.  Maybe Jon needs to start pouring massive amounts into one of those anonymous Citizens United ruling style PACs to put someone else in that office as a way to improve the chances of saving someone else's kid.

    Hey Jon, how about buy New Jersey a better governor?

    You know somebody's going to be trying to buy them a worse one.

    maybe he should run for Governor (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:52:26 AM EST
    Sounds good to me... (none / 0) (#27)
    by unitron on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:32:22 PM EST
    ...whatever happened to the Springsteen for Senate movement from a few years ago?

    That raises the question, though... (none / 0) (#28)
    by unitron on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:34:41 PM EST
    ...when you've got large money, is it better to be an office holder, or to own one while you continue to do whatever it is that brings in the bucks.

    who was the good samaritan? (1.25 / 4) (#1)
    by diogenes on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:55:11 PM EST
    She didn't call for help, so why would she not be arrested?  From the link, Grant called for help, so he is the one who should not be arrested.
    The usual best outcome in these drug cases is arrest followed by judicial diversion, either by Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal or into a drug court, which provides some leverage to encourage treatment.  With no leverage, this poor girl who had LOTS of money and could have afforded any rehab in the country wasn't going into any sort of treatment and was on the road to accidental death by overdose.

    the criminal justice system was not (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:22:44 PM EST
    designed to cure every conceivable social ill.

    How about reading the article I linked to. I far more trust the views of Gabriel Sayeghm who is the director of the Drug Policy Alliance's New York policy office.

    Sayegh and his team work in New York City and across the state, partnering with community organizing groups, human service agencies, and researchers to advance drug policies that are guided by science, compassion, health, racial justice and human rights.

    Your predictable law and order views are misguided.


    The good Samaritan will hesitate (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Peter G on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:04:22 PM EST
    to call for medical assistance in the face of a drug or alcohol overdose, if s/he fears that police accompanying the ambulance may arrest either the Samaritan him/herself or the person needing aid.  That's the point of the "Samaritan" psyche -- concern for others as well as or even ahead of concern for self.

    Drug courts depend too heavily (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:44:29 AM EST
    on punishment to motivate people into sobriety.  But it really does not succeed all that often.....

    Addiction and recovery are tricky business.  Sometimes jail and punishment can deter or turn someone around.  But on the whole, I doubt they are anything other than an expensive and not too successful venture.


    Addicts already are steeped in self hate (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:07:18 AM EST
    Being imprisoned within our very abusive prison system has never been much good at helping anyone heal a broken spirit or self esteem.

    My daughter's arrest (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by DrBB on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:19:49 PM EST
    ...for heroin possession definitely made an impression and helped push her toward recovery (an addict for 12 yrs, sober now for about four) though it wasn't exactly an abrupt turn-around. It certainly scared the sh*t out of her. The sobbing 2 a.m. phone call and 3 hour drive to bail her out is not the fondest memory of my life, nor the scramble to find (and afford) a lawyer, the agony of the court appearances and the terror that her young life was going to be thrown away by the justice system. In the end she got probation with deferred adjudication, thanks to a very humane and understanding judge. It was still some time before she got serious enough about getting clean to finally move onto a different path. It's an extremely difficult drug to kick. But it certainly brought the reality of where she was headed home to her in a way she hadn't really internalized up till then.

    So in my experience it's a mixed picture. One thing I will say: I have nothing but the greatest sympathy for what her parents must be going through, wealth and celebrity notwithstanding. It's a horrible thing to have to live with, whatever your material circumstances. Our daughter was a bit younger than the Bongiovi's when she got hooked. It may be a hell of a long road ahead of them and they need all the compassion and understanding they can get.


    adding re celebrity (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by DrBB on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 04:34:30 PM EST
    Oddly coincidental to the post below about the football player's son: my daughter was arrested along with her boyfriend and fellow user, who was the son of a Hall-of-Fame baseball player. The dad, who I will not name, was a pretty complete a*hole, who perpetrated some emotional cruelties on his son that I found unforgivable, and that obviously can play a role in what drives this stuff. In our case, well, we're certainly not celebrities, nor wealthy, nor I hope a*holes, complete or otherwise.

    offspring of celebs - film, music, sports, etc. - and hard drugs are a significant issue there.

    I'm thankful that your daughter has overcome her addiction.


    Congratulations on your daughter's turn-around (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by rdandrea on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:13:38 AM EST
    She's lucky.  Mine didn't survive.

    I definitely understand what Stephanie's parents are going through.


    I'm so sorry to hear that (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by shoephone on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:24:17 AM EST
    It's such a difficult road for everyone involved. Addiction tears families apart. I'm really sorry for your loss.

    Thanks (n/t) (none / 0) (#24)
    by rdandrea on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:32:15 AM EST
    I'm sorry, too rdandrea (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Zorba on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:30:32 PM EST
    I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child.  

    Thanks and my deepest condolences (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by DrBB on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:28:22 AM EST
    I thank god every day that we were spared that outcome, and we know enough others who weren't so fortunate that in no way do we take it for granted. Living under the shadow of that possibility  every day, 24/7, year after year for over a decade was bad enough.

    This is a horrible, horrible drug, and while I have to come down on the side of favoring decriminalization, it is not true that addiction to it is a victimless crime. The effects are witheringly painful and they radiate far out beyond what it does to the abuser him or herself.


    About a year ago Griffin Kramer, (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:36:05 PM EST
    18 y/o son of ex-NFL QB Erik Kramer, OD'd on heroin and died in my neighbor's home.

    A few days ago my neighbor's son was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case and got 5 years probation.

    Kramer OD'd in my neighbor's son's car and instead of taking him to the hospital my neighbor's son drove around town calling friends trying to find someone who would take the unconscious youth.

    Finding no one to take Kramer, and ignoring advice to take him to the hospital, my neighbor's son dragged Kramer into my neighbor's house and left him there while he went to a party. A few hours later Kramer died.

    Hopefully, with the Sept passage of Cali's Good Samaritan law, fewer of these types of deaths will occur.

    Ah... (none / 0) (#9)
    by sj on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:07:35 PM EST
    I kind of remember you talking about that.  Tragic all around.

    Oy.. (none / 0) (#10)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:31:16 PM EST
    The opiates are comin' out of the proverbial woodwork are here, and the people seemingly the most into them are young adults right around this young lady's age..

    The most medicated generation of young people in history have now become self-medicating.


    around here.. (none / 0) (#11)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:43:17 PM EST
    Yes jondee you are correct (none / 0) (#16)
    by fishcamp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:51:58 PM EST
    in saying opiates are everywhere.  For a while, a few years ago, heroin was easily available in the white powder form known as China white.  Kids, mothers, grocery clerks, and many others were snorting it on weekends.  It;s difficult to actually get hooked on heroin doing it that way unless you are really committed.  They were using it like cocaine on weekend binges.  Then along came Mexican tar, a very evil form of heroin.  It can only be smoked or shot into a vein.  The tar is very strong and cut with things like shoe polish.  It;s very bad and much easier to get hooked on.  I don;t know what  form Bon Jovi;s daughter was using but she did manage to overdose.  btw, I agree that we usually only hear about the few bad apples of the children of stars group and I;m glad the majority of them are responsible young adults.

    Jeez, this computer (none / 0) (#17)
    by fishcamp on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:01:11 PM EST
    is really going bonkers on punctuation.  Here;s the colon and semi-colon Ñ ñ and the quote marks : and others ´º ¨¨ Ç ç . ? ¿ ... I don;t even know what these symbols mean...do youÇ

    Check your settings? It looks funny weird. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Angel on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:25:53 PM EST
    Based on your (none / 0) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:22:42 AM EST
    Ñ and ñ and your ¿ it looks to me like your computer came across the Florida Straits from Cuba last night. Language settings switched to Spanish?

    Control Panel, Language...still set to (English - United States)? Or have you ever installed the Spanish Accents Caplocks file which may be runnning?


    Thanks CG... (none / 0) (#26)
    by fishcamp on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:38:15 PM EST
    I did exactly what you said and for some reason the Spanish language box was checked.  I think when my Cuban cleaning lady texts me in Spanish and I answer in Spanish on my iPhone and then synch it to my computer it automatically switches over.  It's a bad phenomena but not as bad as auto correct.