California Assembly Bill 472 Testimony

Date: March 22, 2011 (State Capitol Room 126)
Attributing Author: Denise Cullen
Assembly California Legislature
Public Safety Committee | Tom Ammiano, Chair
Assemblymember, Thirteenth District

Below is Denise Cullen’s testimony.

GOOD MORNING.  MY NAME IS DENISE CULLEN.  I AM A LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, CERTIFIED GRIEF RECOVERY SPECIALIST AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BROKEN NO MORE,  A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION.

I AM FROM ORANGE COUNTY BUT CURRENTLY SPEND MOST OF MY TIME IN PALM DESERT.  THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO WHY I FEEL SO PASSIONATELY ABOUT THIS BILL.

2 ½ YEARS AGO MY FAMILY WAS TORN APART.  OUR BELOVED ONLY CHILD, JEFF, DIED OF AN ACCIDENTAL DRUG OVERDOSE AT 27 YEARS OF AGE.  JEFF WAS KIND, BRIGHT, FUNNY, AND EXCEPTIONALLY COMPASSIONATE.  HE WAS A LOYAL FRIEND.  HE LOVED AND WAS LOVED DEEPLY AND HE IS TERRIBLY MISSED.

HE WAS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE – MY HEART.

SOON AFTER JEFF DIED, HIS DAD AND I WERE COMPELLED TO DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE THIS GROWING HEALTH CRISIS. WE BEGAN BY HELPING THOSE SUFFERING THIS UNIQUE, STIGMATIZED AND ISOLATING GRIEF THROUGH GRASP – GRIEF RECOVERY AFTER A SUBSTANCE PASSING.

WE ADMINISTER THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION, ASSISTING OTHERS IN FINDING AND STARTING NEW CHAPTERS.  WE HAVE A VERY ACTIVE FACEBOOK ONLINE SUPPORT NETWORK.

THROUGH THIS WORK I HAVE PERSONALLY SPOKEN TO HUNDREDS OF PARENTS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE LOST A CHILD OR OTHER LOVED ONE THE SAME WAY WE LOST OUR SON. THESE ARE REGULAR PEOPLE FROM LOVING HOMES.  THEY HAD PLANS, HOPES AND DREAMS, MUCH LIKE THE CHILDREN OF THE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS.

THIS BILL IS PURELY AND SIMPLY HUMANE.  IT WILL SAVE LIVES AND FAMILIES IN CALIFORNIA.  THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE.

THE BILL PROVIDES VERY LIMITED IMMUNITY FOR MINOR CRIMES IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO NOT HESITATE, TO PICK UP THE PHONE IMMEDIATELY AND CALL FOR HELP WHEN EVERY SECOND COUNTS.

THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL WILL PREVENT INNUMERABLE PEOPLE FROM ACCIDENTAL OVERDOSE AND FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THEM, THE EXCRUTIATING, NEVER ENDING PAIN THAT COMES WITH LOSING A DEARLY LOVED PERSON – ESPECIALLY WHEN THAT LOSS IS PREVENTABLE.

THANK YOU TO THE HONORABLE TOM AMMIANO AND ALL THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED SO HARD ON THIS BILL.

PLEASE VOTE YES ON AB472.  THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH AND THIS BILL SAYS YES! YOU DO MATTER.  YOUR LIFE HAS VALUE.

THANK YOU.

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