Metro-east police say the death of a Worchester, NY woman inside a gas station restroom was probably drug related.
Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz says 25 year old Angela Lamar, a Belleville native, had been traveling through Illinois with her boyfriend, a truck driver, when the couple stopped at a gas station along I-70 just outside of Highland.
Lamar was unresponsive when she was found inside the station restroom around 1:00 a.m. Sunday. She was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that investigators seized a syringe and heroin-filled capsules during their investigation. Sheriff Hertz says investigators suspect a drug overdose, but toxicology tests are still pending.
A bill sponsored by Republican state Representative Bryan Spencer, would grant immunity from minor drug possession charges to overdose victims and people who get medical help for them. Ten other states, including Illinois, have already enacted the so-called "good Samaritan" laws. Spencer's bill is based on the Illinois model.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he supports the measure, saying that saving lives is more important than pursuing minor drug charges. But St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch expressed doubts that the law would make much difference, telling the paper that people who abuse alcohol or heroin "aren’t the most responsible" people.
Advocates say the state can't afford to ignore the problem. They cite research by the Missouri Recovery Network and Roosevelt University, which suggests that heroin and opiate abuse poses a particularly deadly and growing threat in Missouri, especially the St. Louis area.