The term “Good Samaritan” comes from a Bible story, where a traveling Samaritan stopped in the road to help a man who was injured, after he had been passed by several others.
As the opioid crisis has raged across America and drug overdoses have soared, states have looked for ways to decrease the number of fatalities from overdoses. Good Samaritan laws have emerged as a way to encourage reporting of overdoses by providing criminal immunity for those reporting the overdose. By shielding the individual reporting the overdose from prosecution for illegal drug use, Good Samaritan laws remove a powerful disincentive that can discourage individuals from seeking medical attention.
To ensure maximum benefit, Good Samartian protections should be broad, covering all individuals at the scene of an overdose and providing immunity from any drug-related charges stemming from the report. Additionally, immunity should be established without extra preconditions, like law enforcement cooperation or required treatment.
Immunity from Charges
Does immunity extend to all drug-related charges, or only certain offenses?
Immunity from Other Sanctions
Does immunity extend to other sanctions, like community supervision violations, violations of a restraining order, civil asset forfeiture, or others?
What requirements must be fulfilled for immunity to be established? Is the individual required to cooperate with other law enforcement investigations or required treatment?
Extension of Immunity
Is immunity extended to both the individual experiencing the overdose as well as the individual reporting the overdose and anyone else present at the scene?