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Good Samaritan law to help prevent drug overdoses being considered

Good Samaritan laws in six states are being considered to help prevent drug overdose deaths. The law affords persons limited immunity from prosecution who seek out help for someone who overdoses.

Good Samaritan laws can save lives of opiate drug overdose victims
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The states considering enacting those laws are Michigan, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maine.

The laws would help these people by getting them to the hospital without fear of reprisal.

There is also a drug used in opiate overdose cases called naloxone. Some states have already made access to the drug easier to obtain. Naloxone is an opioid angonist that counters the effects of drugs like heroin, and morphine among others. "Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing family and friends of people who are addicted to heroin or prescription opioids to have the antidote," reports The Partneship at

Good Samaritan and naloxone laws were pushed through in North Carolina last year. Since April of 2013 when the laws went into effect, 45 cases of overdose reversals were recorded due to the administration of naloxone.

Naloxone is a wonder drug, and has saved many lives. If administered to a person who has overdosed on an opioid drug, and his, or her heart is still beating, it is virtually 100 percent effective.

In Quincy, Massachusetts, every police officer who is on patrol must carry Narcan, the brand name for the drug naloxone. The results have been outstanding with a success rate of 95 percent.

Enacting Good Samaritan laws in Michigan, and other states is just the right thing to do. And allowing easier access to naloxone is not likely to encourage drug use as Maine Governor Paul LaPage says. He opposes the naloxone bill introduced this year, and vetoed the Good Samaritan law last year. LaPage is on the wrong page, and at this point would rather stick with harm increasing, rather than harm reduction.

It is very difficult to get off opioid drugs, and remain sober. Opiates also have an extremely high relapse rate, especially after one year out. After 5 years the rate has usually taken its toll on all but 3 out of 100, so anything that can go into the harm reduction toolbox, and save lives to give an addict more chances is good any way you parse it.


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"One person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States and that trend is being driven by prescription (Rx) painkillers." (

If you or a loved one needs help with any type of drug abuse/addiction problem, contact these sites depending on where you live. SEMCA (Wayne County residents), CARE (Macomb County residents), PACE (Oakland County residents), Drug Free Detroit (City of Detroit residents). For those residing outside the State of Michigan, contact SAMHSA for assistance. For assistance with medical marijuana issues contact The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center, or, phone number: (313) 967-9999, or (248) 677-2888.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment locator here: SAMSHA

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