Good Samaritan Law

Good Sam 4

The Good Samaritan Law

The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law protects people who call 911 during an overdose from being charged with possession of a controlled substance. Dying from an overdose is 100% preventable if the victim receives timely & appropriate medical attention.

Calling 911 is a crucial step in saving the life of someone experiencing an overdose. Learn how to recognize the signs of an overdose here.

Naloxone (Narcan) may not be enough.

Opioid deaths in MA went up by 16% in 2016, likely due to fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller that is easily manufactured and can stretch heroin batches, cutting costs for dealers. It is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, which means an overdose is much likelier and may take more than one dose of naloxone to reverse. Fentanyl-laced heroin makes it more important than ever to call 911 – because naloxone may not be enough by itself.

The law protects you.

The Good Samaritan Law protects victims and those who call 911 for help from charge, prosecution, and conviction for possession or use of controlled substances. The Law, Chapter 94C, Section 34A: “Immunity from prosecution under Secs. 34 or 35 for persons seeking medical assistance for self or other experiencing a drug-related overdose” can be found on the Massachusetts Legislature General Laws website.

What the law does:

  • Protects people from prosecution for possession of controlled substances when calling 911
  • Increases the likelihood that witnesses will call 911 during an overdose
  • Saves lives and gives people who use opioids a chance to get help for their addiction
  • Provides legal protection for medical professionals who prescribe naloxone, or people who possess and/or administer naloxone to someone appearing to have an opiate overdose

What the law does not do:

  • Does not interfere with law enforcement securing the scene at an overdose
  • Does not prevent prosecution for drug trafficking
  • Does not prevent prosecution for outstanding warrants

———————————
For more information please visit: http://www.mass.gov/MakeTheRightCall

Do you know someone struggling with addiction? Do you need help? Call the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline (1-800-327-5050) or visit their website. The Helpline provides free and anonymous information for alcohol and other drug use problems.