The morning after Salvatore Marchese left his mother's house for a session of outpatient treatment for his heroin addiction, he was found slumped behind the wheel of her car, dead of an overdose. He apparently hadn't been alone. But whoever was with him when he was using drugs was long gone by the time the police arrived.
When Patty DiRenzo learned what happened to her son, she wondered: "How could somebody leave somebody to die?"
Now, DiRenzo, of Blackwood, N.J., is part of a nationwide push to make sure people won't be too afraid of being arrested to call 911 when they or someone they're with has overdosed. Eight states have passed laws in the past five years that give people limited immunity on drug possession charges if they seek medical help for an overdose.