Good Samaritan law relating to drug overdose

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2018 at 12:41 PM

A new Good Samaritan law related to drug overdoses will go into effect, April 26.  The Arizona law will allow a person who seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug-related overdose not to be charged or prosecuted with a crime.  Opioid overdoses continue to occur at an alarming rate in Arizona and across the country, however there are less deaths thanks to Narcan (brand name for Naloxone) and people seeking help.

The new law states, in part, that a person who in good faith seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.

The new law also states that a person who experiences a drug-related overdose, who is in need of medical assistance and for whom medical assistance is sought may not be charged or prosecuted for the possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia if the evidence for the violation was gained as a result of the person’s overdose and need for medical assistance.

The Lake Havasu City Police Department wants the community to be aware of this new law so there is no fear or hesitation in seeking medical help for someone who may be overdosing.  Now there will be no reason not to call for medical help.  Officers will still collect and properly dispose of any illegal drugs or other items associated with illegal activity that is discovered during a medical assist.

Lake Havasu City Police Officers began carrying kits containing Narcan in early November 2017.  The Naloxone nasal injectors are another tool our officers have available to them to possibly save someone’s life in the event officers arrive on the scene of an overdose before medical personnel.

Forty other states currently have some version of a “Good Samaritan Law” related to overdoses.  The full explanation of this new law, Arizona Revised Statute 13-3423 “Medical Assistance Requests; Prohibited Prosecution of Good Samaritans” can be found at www.azleg.gov.