HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » California (Group) » California's New 'Good Sa...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:40 PM

California's New 'Good Samaritan' Overdose Prevention Law Goes into Effect January 1, 2013



California's New 'Good Samaritan' Overdose Prevention Law Goes into Effect January 1, 2013

California Becomes Largest State in U.S. to Enact Legislation Aimed at Curbing National Overdose Crisis

SACRAMENTO, CA—A new law in California that encourages witnesses at the scene of a suspected drug or alcohol overdose to seek emergency assistance right away without fear of arrest for minor drug law violations goes into effect on January 1, 2013. The law, commonly referred to in other states as ‘911 Good Samaritan,’ was introduced by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and passed in 2012 with bipartisan support. California becomes the tenth state to pass a law encouraging people to call 911 for help for suspected overdose victims.

California’s 911 Good Samaritan law provides limited protections from arrest and prosecution for low-level drug law violations at the scene of an overdose, including possession of small amounts of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Those who sell drugs are not protected under the new law and existing laws prohibiting drug-related violations, such as drugged driving, remain unchanged.

“Reassuring all Californians that calling 911 is safe and the right thing to do when someone’s life is on the line is essential,” said Meghan Ralston, harm reduction manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. While people should feel confident that they won’t get in trouble for small amounts of drugs when they call for help, the range of the protections provided under the new law is very limited and very specific. “This isn’t a get-out-jail-free card for people who sell or traffic large quantities of drugs. This law basically says, ‘If you have a small amount of drugs in your possession, or the person overdosing does, don’t let your fear of arrest for that be the reason you fail to call 911 to help save someone’s life,” said Ralston.

California is among the many states where drug overdose fatalities are the number one cause of accidental injury-related death, surpassing even motor vehicle deaths. Although studies indicate that most people overdose in the presence of others, many people either delay or do not call for emergency services. Numerous studies have shown that the number one reason that people hesitate or fail to call 911 in an overdose situation is fear of arrest for drug possession.

The bill was co-sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, California ACLU and the Health Officers Association of California. Other states with similar laws include New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, and most recently, the District of Columbia.

http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2012/12/californias-new-good-samaritan-overdose-prevention-law-goes-effect-january-1-2013

3 replies, 908 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply California's New 'Good Samaritan' Overdose Prevention Law Goes into Effect January 1, 2013 (Original post)
pinto Jan 2013 OP
mike_c Jan 2013 #1
Taverner Jan 2013 #2
pinto Jan 2013 #3

Response to pinto (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:54 PM

1. simply decriminalize drugs and laws like this would be unnecessary....

eom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mike_c (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 03:06 PM

2. +10000

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mike_c (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:20 AM

3. See your point. Yet this legislation is literally vital for where we're at today.

California is among the many states where drug overdose fatalities are the number one cause of accidental injury-related death, surpassing even motor vehicle deaths. Although studies indicate that most people overdose in the presence of others, many people either delay or do not call for emergency services. Numerous studies have shown that the number one reason that people hesitate or fail to call 911 in an overdose situation is fear of arrest for drug possession.


I volunteer with a syringe exchange program and have heard this scenario numerous times. We come from a harm reduction approach. Primarily focused on limiting HIV and HCV transmission. Yet OD is always a part of the picture, it comes with the territory. We encourage that someone make a 911 call, period. And stay. If necessary they can pass on any dope they have on hand yet stay until medical help arrives. If everyone is going to bail, we encourage that someone make a 911 call from the OD's cell phone, give some basic info for help and leave the cell on site.

First responders are all about care, treatment and transport if needed. That's obviously their job. We try and reinforce that point when the discussion comes up. PD are generally secondary, yet they may have a different focus. Some go beyond simple possession issues.

(side note) Not surprising but often overlooked. Users are pretty aware of OD signs and symptoms. And are often efficient with short term, immediate care. And, they often care.

I think this is a real good piece of legislation.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread