“There is a general reluctance within the drug-using population to seek help when witnessing an overdose. Data suggests that Emergency Medical Services are called in the event of an overdose less than 56% of the time. In fact, between 1997 and 2000 in San Francisco, California, Emergency Medical Services were only called in 26% of cases that resulted in a fatal overdose.”
“This hesitancy to call for help can be explained by a number of different circumstances; a primary reason for many is that police often accompany emergency responders, looking to arrest drug users at the scene. According to one study, police arrive at the scene of 42% of reported overdoses to search and interrogate those who made the 911 call. If the overdose results in a fatality, police officers have been known to arrest the callers and charge them with murder or manslaughter. This natural avoidance of arrest causes many to try their own attempts at resuscitation before contacting emergency services. Many others abandon the victim.”
What is a “911 Good Samaritan Law”?
“In response to the rising deaths due to accidental drug overdose, Good Samaritan Laws have been adjusted to create 911 Good Samaritan Laws. Since 2007, varying forms of a 911 Good Samaritan law have been passed in twenty-one states and DC. These laws grant individuals varying levels of immunity from liability and prosecution if they call 911 during a drug overdose. Studies have found that people calling for emergency services often had been engaging in illegal activities relating to drugs and/or alcohol along with the victim. The 911 Good Samaritan Laws prioritize the victim’s safety and resuscitation over arresting drug users.” Resource: Shatterproof
Since the Good Samaritan Law is new in Kentucky as of March 25, 2015, KYHRC is spreading the word to active users and others about the KY “Good Sam Law.”
Following is an press release from the KY Government Website:
Wednesday, 03 25, 2015
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Less than twelve hours after it passed the General Assembly, Governor Steve Beshear signed the bipartisan anti-heroin bill into law before a crowded room full of legislators, law enforcement officials and health advocates.
“It’s a new day in the fight against heroin in our Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “This bill is a balanced, muscular approach designed to impact users, sellers, law enforcement and public health. Heroin’s terrifying grip on our friends, our families and our communities is finally coming to an end.”
Senate Bill 192 offers multiple tactics to reduce the trafficking and abuse of heroin. Traffickers will face stiffer penalties, particularly if heroin is transported across state lines. More money is allocated for addiction treatment. A ‘Good Samaritan’ provision gives users legal immunity if they report an overdose victim. The bill also authorizes more use of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, and allows communities the option of setting up needle exchanges.
According to the Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky ranks number 3 in the nation for opioid overdose deaths and ranks number 1 in Jefferson County.
A number the KY Harm Reduction Coalition is fighting to reduce.
Many of those deaths can be prevented through the timely provision of rescue breathing and of a safe effective drug called Naloxone (Narcan), plus the summoning of emergency responders.
It is reasonable to believe that laws that encourage the prescription and use of naloxone and the timely seeking of emergency medical assistance will have the intended effect of reducing opioid overdose deaths.
217.186 Provider prescribing or dispensing naloxone — Administration by third party — Use of naloxone by person or agency authorized to administer medication — Immunity from liability — Administrative regulations — Use of naloxone by schools.
(1) A licensed health-care provider who, acting in good faith, directly or by standing order, prescribes or dispenses the drug naloxone to a person or agency who, in the judgment of the health-care provider, is capable of administering the drug for an emergency opioid overdose, shall not, as a result of his or her acts or omissions, be subject to disciplinary or other adverse action under KRS Chapter 311, 311A, 314, or 315 or any other professional licensing statute. As used in this subsection, “licensed health-care provider” includes a pharmacist as defined in KRS 315.010 who holds a separate certification issued by the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy authorizing the initiation of the dispensing of naloxone under subsection (5) of this section.
(2) A prescription for naloxone may include authorization for administration of the drug to the person for whom it is prescribed by a third party if the prescribing instructions indicate the need for the third party upon administering the drug to immediately notify a local public safety answering point of the situation necessitating the administration.
(3) A person or agency, including a peace officer, jailer, firefighter, paramedic, or emergency medical technician or a school employee authorized to administer medication under KRS 156.502, may:
(a) Receive a prescription for the drug naloxone;
(b) Possess naloxone pursuant to this subsection and any equipment needed for its administration; and
(c) Administer naloxone to an individual suffering from an apparent opiate- related overdose.
(4) A person acting in good faith who administers naloxone received under this section shall be immune from criminal and civil liability for the administration, unless personal injury results from the gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the person administering the drug.
The Board of Pharmacy, in consultation with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, shall promulgate administrative regulations to establish certification, educational, operational, and protocol requirements to implement this section.
(b) Administrative regulations promulgated under this subsection shall:
1. Require that any dispensing under this section be done only in accordance with a physician-approved protocol and specify the minimum required components of any such protocol;
2. Include a required mandatory education requirement as to the mechanism and circumstances for the administration of naloxone for the person to whom the naloxone is dispensed; and
3. Require that a record of the dispensing be made available to a physician(c)
signing a protocol under this subsection, if desired by the physician.
Administrative regulations promulgated under this subsection may include:
1. A supplemental educational or training component for a pharmacist seeking certification under this subsection; and
2. A limitation on the forms of naloxone and means of its administration that may be dispensed pursuant to this subsection.
The board of each local public school district and the governing body of each private and parochial school or school district may permit a school to keep naloxone on the premises and regulate the administration of naloxone to any individual suffering from an apparent opiate-related overdose.
In collaboration with local health departments, local health providers, and local schools and school districts, the Kentucky Department for Public Health shall develop clinical protocols to address supplies of naloxone kept by schools under this section and to advise on the clinical administration of naloxone.
Effective: March 25, 2015
History: Amended 2015 Ky. Acts ch. 66, sec. 8, effective March 25, 2015. — Created 2013 Ky. Acts ch. 118, sec. 10, effective June 25, 2013.
Does Involuntary Treatment Work?
Studies show that involuntary treatment can be just as successful as voluntary treatment. Most individuals who are substance abuse impaired receive court-ordered caseylogo_smalltreatment only after they have become arrested for a crime while under the influence of a substance. Drugs and crime often go hand in hand because people who are substance abuse impaired are forced by their disease to resort to any means necessary to procure their drug. Court-ordered treatment can be effective regardless of who initiates it.
Do the People with Substance Use Disorders Have to Want Help?
Denial and distorted thinking impedes their ability to make a rational decision. The “bottom” for many is death. Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The best hope of survival for a person who is substance abuse impaired is intervention.
Why Not Wait for Court Intervention?
Not all people who are substance abuse impaired are arrested or, in the event that they are, may not receive the necessary treatment.
What Does This Law Provide?
This act provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize his or her need for treatment due to their impairment. This law will allow parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is substance abuse impaired.
What Is the Length of Treatment That Can Be Ordered?
Treatment options can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case and can range from detoxification to intensive treatment through recovery.
What Happens If the Respondent Fails to Comply at Anytime During the Process?
Failure to comply may place the respondent in contempt of court.
Who Pays for the Treatment?
As the law is currently written, the petitioner is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as for treatment and must sign a guarantee for payment. You as the petitioner are responsible for finding the treatment facility. You choose how much to pay, if you pay at all. The good news is there are treatment facilities that are no cost available.