Mississippi has a good Samaritan law that protects those who seek medical attention as well as those experiencing an overdose, but only in certain circumstances.
The law only provides immunity from prosecution for simple possession of very small amounts of controlled substances, leaving individuals liable for possession as little as five grams of a controlled substance. The state’s law could be improved by extending protections to all drug-related violations.
Immunity from Charges
Mississippi’s law provides only very narrow protections against charges for possession of very small amounts of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia. Even small, user-level amounts of a controlled substance are not covered by the law. Additionally, individuals acting in good faith could still be liable for possession with intent to distribute, sale or transfer of a controlled substance, or trafficking of a controlled substance.
Immunity from Other Sanctions
While drug-related immunity is limited in the statute, Mississippi’s law provides broader immunity from other charges, including: supervision violations, restraining order violations, and civil asset forfeiture. This provision could be improved by extending immunity to alcohol-related charges, including public intoxication and providing alcohol to a minor.
Mississippi’s law imposes no additional requirements on individuals to receive immunity, they must simply be acting in good faith when seeking medical attention for the individual experiencing the overdose.
Extension of Immunity
Immunity in Mississippi’s law extends to both the individual experiencing the overdose and the individual reporting the overdose, but does not explicitly protect other individuals in the immediate vicinity.