PITTSBURGH — A judge is trying to make a difference when it comes to fighting drug abuse in the Pittsburgh area by making dealers pay.
Judge Anthony Mariani is known as a no-nonsense judge. His unique approach to combat the heroin epidemic is to make people caught selling heroin pay for the overdose drug Narcan.
Mariana said the idea stemmed from a defendant who was in his court after overdosing twice in two days.
“When I sentenced him, I said I was going to make him pay for the Narcan used to bring him back to life twice,” he said.
However, the idea expanded one day while he was cutting grass.
“It occurred to me that the people who should be paying for Narcan are the people selling it for profit. Drug dealers,” Mariani said.
Andy Buxton and Larry Richardson Jr. are the first two people who have been ordered to pay nearly $4,000 to local ambulance and fire services for the purchase of Narcan.
Ross Township/West View Emergency Medical Services will be getting $1,250, and McKeesport Ambulance will receive $250. Baldwin EMS will get $1700, while $700 will go to Clairton Volunteer Fire Department.
McKeesport Ambulance told Channel 11 News that the plan helps with administrative costs and will allow it to stock Narcan and train people on how to use it.
“I hope the community benefits,” Mariani said.
Cox Media Group