Good Samaritan Law
In Massachusetts the rate of fatal drug overdose has increased dramatically over the past decade. In 2007, an average of 12 Massachusetts residents died each week of an opioid-related overdose (e.g. from heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl). An overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency. If 911 emergency responders are called quickly enough, in most cases, the person will survive. One of the major contributing factors to an overdose death is that many witnesses do not call 911 due to fear of police involvement. The 911 Good Samaritan law provides protection from drug possession charges when an overdose victim or an overdose witness seeks medical attention. This law helps reduce overdose deaths by removing barriers to calling 911 for medical assistance, a crucial step in saving the life of someone experiencing an overdose. The legislation does not protect individuals from being prosecuted for other offenses such as drug trafficking or weapons charges. This also does not protect individuals with outstanding warrants nor would it interfere with law enforcement protocols to secure the scene of an overdose.