According to the Drug Policy Alliance, "Accidental overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, exceeding even motor vehicle accidents among people ages 25 to 64. Many of these deaths are preventable if emergency medical assistance is summoned, but people using drugs or alcohol illegally often fear arrest if they call 911, even in cases where they need emergency medical assistance for a friend or family member at the scene of a suspected overdose."
"The best way to encourage overdose witnesses to seek medical help is to exempt them from arrest and prosecution for minor drug and alcohol law violations, an approach often referred to as Good Samaritan 911...Good Samaritan laws do not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs, or driving while drugged. These policies protect only the caller and overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence."
Twenty states including Maryland and the District of Columbia have enacted such policies. To read the complete article, click here. For a vivid illustration of the law in action, view this Public Service Announcement (PSA).