If you had the chance to save someone’s life by dialing 9-1-1, would you take it? Like most people, you probably would. What about if making that call could mean you end up in prison? Would you still go ahead?
Each year, many people die each year after overdosing on drugs such as opioids. Many of them would still be alive today if someone had called for help earlier. Often there are others present perfectly capable of calling for help but scared to do so because they have also been using drugs and fear arrest.
Georgia lawmakers created the 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law to address that dilemma. It provides immunity from prosecution to those who call the emergency services to save someone who is overdosing. Many other states have implemented similar laws.
Georgia’s law also permits you to administer Naloxone
Naloxone, if administered promptly, can reverse an overdose and save a life. Georgia has made it much easier for people who might need it to get hold of it, including those who use opioids and their friends and family. The law permits anyone in a position to administer it to someone overdosing to do so.
Does the law protect you from prosecution for all drug offenses?
No, the protection only relates to any potential arrest for possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia or being under the influence of drugs. You could still face charges if the police believe you were selling or trafficking drugs or driving under the influence of them.
Just because this protection exists does not mean officers arriving at the scene of an overdose will respect it. You might also be in a situation where someone else claims they called for help rather than you, to save themselves from arrest. Learning more about your legal options will be crucial in such cases.