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2018 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Laws Update Recap

2018 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Laws Update Recap

On August 13, 2018, our team published an update on the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Laws dataset, available at the Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System (pdaps.org). This update captured Good Samaritan Drug Overdose laws effective through July 1, 2018. There has been a lot of changes since our last update in December 2016: as of July 1, 2018, 46 states have a Good Samaritan drug overdose law, up from 37 states on December 1, 2016.


Eight states (Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and South Dakota) added a new Good Samaritan Drug Overdose law for the first time, while Michigan expanded its law to apply to adults over the age of 21 and now provides immunity from prosecution for controlled substance possession offenses. While most of these new laws followed the similar pattern of existing Good Samaritan laws, Iowa broke from the mold and offered procedural protections in exchange for seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose. Specifically, any information or evidence collected as a result of an overdose patient or reporter seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose in good faith is considered “protected information under Iowa Code § 124.418 and cannot be considered to support probable cause and cannot be admissible as evidence against an overdose patient or reporter for the listed controlled substance offenses.


Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wisconsin made significant changes to their existing Good Samaritan laws. Massachusetts and Wisconsin both added protection from sanctions for violations of probation and/or parole for seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose, while North Dakota added immunity from charges from both controlled substance possession offenses and drug paraphernalia offenses.


Be sure to head over to the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Law dataset at pdaps.org to learn more about these big changes and check out the results for the newly published coding question detailing the protections provided from probation or parole violations.