More than 100 residents walked from just outside City Council chambers to the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Saturday to raise awareness of a new law that was passed in hopes of fighting a rising national problem with opiates.
The City Hall-to-the-mall route was intended to raise consciousness, not funds, in an effort to battle opiate addiction with a new law that came into effect Jan. 1, the 911 Good Samaritan Law.
The law basically states anyone who calls 911 to help save a life that’s in jeopardy due to a drug overdose will not be charged if drugs are found at the scene of the overdose.
“My goal with the walk today is to make other parents make other youths aware of the new law,” said Krissy McAfee. “So we can lower the number of overdoses in our community.”
Last year, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station investigated 14 deaths that were related to drug overdoses.
McAfee hopes the new law can help cut into that figure.
City officials supported the effort, too, with Mayor Bob Kellar joining the march around Valencia.
“I heard about this walk probably 10 or 12 days ago, and recognizing that we do have, as all communities are having an issue with, heroin and overdoses, and the loss of our young people,” Kellar said.
“When it comes to drugs and the battle, we need to have a big tool box, which means we need to have a variety of programs and things in place to combat it,” he said. “Because there is no single answer.”
Kellar mentioned a variety of city partnerships, such as the one with local counseling center Action, and DFYiT, with the William S. Hart Union High School district, as parts of a fight that has become a valleywide effort.
“This city is absolutely committed to doing all we can to protect our families and protect our young people,” he said.
For Krissy McAfee, whose son Daniel Trae Allen died in 2010 from a heroin-related overdose, wanted to make sure no other parent has to go through what she and other parents went through.
“Studies show that someone who’s overdosing usually has someone with them who’s afraid to call 911 for fear of getting arrested,” she said, standing near Sonja Coulter, who recently lost her daughter Carlie to a drug overdose.
“You can’t say this is never going to happen to my child,” McAfee said. “And we need to get the message out to the high-risk group.”