Overdose and other drug-related problems can be incredibly scary and escalate to life-threatening circumstances very quickly. But, some people hesitate to call 9-1-1 because they fear getting in trouble or being associated with illegal activity. However, the 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law protects individuals who call in support of a person experiencing a drug overdose or related symptoms.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), overdoses nationwide have more than doubled from 1999-2011 and have resulted in more deaths than HIV/AIDS, car accidents or homicides. In addition, more overdose deaths have been caused by prescription opioids than by illegal drugs.
The probability of surviving an overdose is dependent on the speed of emergency response and medical assistance, but some people can be too fearful to call 911 because they’re fearful of being arrested themselves.
The 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law provides immunity to witnesses who call 9-1-1 in the event of a drug-related incident or overdose. Witnesses are protected from prosecution, but are not protected from additional offenses such as drug selling or trafficking. However, life-saving usually takes precedence over arrests for possession.
In an article, Preventing Overdose, Horizon Health Services identified key factors about victims of overdose, including the following:
- One in four teens (about 24 percent) report abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.
- Teen drug use has increased 33% over a five-year period.
- Of those teens, one in five have used prescription drugs before age 14.
- 27% of teens wrongly believe that abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs.
Situations of drug abuse and overdose can be incredible scary and overwhelming. However, the 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law protects people willing to call 9-1-1 and aid those experiencing overdose symptoms, potentially saving the victim’s life.
If you believe your friend or loved one is experiencing issues with drug abuse, contact Horizon Health Services at 716-831-1800 to speak with a counselor today.