THINK: What if someone…
- Consumed “too much” of a drug?
- Is having a difficult drug-related experience?
- Is in and out of consciousness?
- Is having a seizure?
- Collapses while dancing?
WHAT is the 911 Good Samaritan Law?
The 911 Good Samaritan Law (also known as Medical Amnesty) protects any person who makes a call or otherwise seeks help in the case of a drug-related medical concern. It provides an exemption from arrest and/ or prosecution for possessing small amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
911 Good Samaritan Laws are part of a health-based approach to drug policy. These laws send the message that people shouldn’t be punished for trying to save a life.
WHY Do We Need a 911 Good Samaritan Law?
Overdose deaths are preventable if medical help is summoned immediately — but research shows that the #1 reason people don’t call for help is fear of police involvement. Even in music festival or party environments, where organizers often encourage their attendees to seek help, people can hesitate. If you see an overdose, get help immediately!
HOW Are You Protected?
Say you see a friend (or stranger!) looking ill, or collapse. YOU can – and SHOULD – seek, call, and/or approach medical to get help for that person. The 911 Good Samaritan law protects you and the overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for possessing small amounts of drugs or paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence.
HOW Are You NOT protected?
The language and protection provided by the law varies from state to state. But Good Samaritan laws do not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs (which often has to do with the quantity found on you), or driving while drugged.
STATES With The Law?
Several states have passed some variation of the law, but we still have a ways to go. As of April, 2015, there are total of twenty four states and the District of Columbia. New Mexico was the first state to pass such a policy and has been joined in recent years by Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Nevada.
For more information about 911 Good Samaritan laws check out: