Drug overdose has overtaken automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Although most overdoses occur in the presence of others, fear of arrest and prosecution prevents many people from calling 911.
A 911 Good Samaritan law would protect those seeking medical assistance during an overdose from criminal prosecution for drug possession (this would not include drug trafficking or distribution).
Similar laws that provide full or partial immunity for overdose witnesses and victims who call 911 have been proposed or enacted in 20 other states, where they are already saving lives. In fact, 88% of drug users indicate they would be more likely to call 911 if such laws exist in their state.
Almost all opiate-related overdoses can be reversed and naloxone, the antidote used in most of these cases, is 98% effective when administered in time. Good Samaritan laws make it much more likely that overdose victims can receive such assistance and will save lives in Georgia. Easier access to naloxone ensures that victims of overdose will be less likely to die or suffer long-term effects such as brain or tissue damage as a result of an accidental overdose.
Our friends, family, loved ones, and neighbors are dying from the nation's drug epidemic. Good Samaritan laws cost nothing to implement, but the cost of not having them is enormous.
No one should ever have to choose between saving a life or going to jail. Calling 911 should never be a crime. Help us save the lives of Georgians today.