Should a person go to jail for calling 911 to report a drug overdose?
Overdose from illegal and prescription drugs are a growing health crisis in New York and around the country. In fact, overdose fatalities are now the number one cause of accidental death in New York, exceeding traffic fatalities. But even though most people overdose in the presence of others, most witnesses don’t call 911 because they’re afraid of being arrested and prosecuted for drug possession.
On July 20th, Governor Cuomo signed into law bipartisan legislation that will begin to change that by encouraging people to call 911 if they witness an overdose.
“No one should go to jail for trying to save a life. This law will help make sure that calling 911 is the first thing someone does if they witness an overdose – not worry about what the cops will do. New York is making clear that saving lives needs to be our priority, not locking people up.” - Hiawatha Collins, a VOCAL-NY leader and Board member, quoted in several media reports.
Media coverage included:
The new “Good Samaritan” law will encourage people to call 911 if they witness an overdose by protecting them from criminal prosecution under most circumstances. VOCAL-NY thanks Assembly Member Gottfried and Senators DeFrancisco and Duane for their leadership to in sponsoring this legislation.