Why calling 911 to report an overdose could get some people evicted

Section 8 residents could have their housing in jeopardy

A deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl has led to a rise in drug overdoses

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The opiate epidemic affects people from all walks of life and over the last few years, it’s gotten worse.

The state reports that overdose deaths have more than doubled in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2015. In an effort to save lives, the state passed the Good Samaritan Law, so witnesses or victims won’t face criminal charges if they call 911 to report an overdose.

However, they could face eviction. If someone living in Section 8 Housing calls 911 for an overdose, they could be evicted. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states “criminal drug activity” or “drug and alcohol abuse” is “intolerable”and could lead to eviction.

“They have to go through means to not only save a life but being worried about their housing,” said Minister Cedrick Dennis, the co-founder of Springfield’s 7-Point Recovery Manifesto group. “Anyone no matter where they live, it shouldn’t be held against them if they’re able to save a life.”

22News tried contacting the Springfield Housing Authority to see how they handle these situations. We’re still waiting to hear back.

Working for a Better TomorrowIf you or someone you love is dealing with an addiction problem, a page has been developed to assist you begin your journey to recovery. Click Here »