NC Families, Advocates Demand Expansion of Good Samaritan Laws
Monday, July 10, 2023
As North Carolina faces an increasing number of overdose-related deaths, there are new calls urging the state to update and expand its Good Samaritan law.
More than 4,000 fatal overdoses were reported last year in North Carolina and the latest numbers show almost 400 deaths, in May alone, this year.
So, Randy Abbott - North Carolina outreach director with the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse - said he is pushing for improved legislation along with other advocates and parents.
He cited the loss of his daughter in 2015 as one heartbreaking example of the need.
"The group she was with at a small party panicked and they did not call 911 immediately," said Abbott. "We later found out that, you know, from the time they dialed 911 to the time someone was on scene was just a matter of less than two or three minutes."
Some proposed changes to strengthen North Carolina's Good Samaritan law include expanding immunity for drug possession broadly - without confusing carve-outs for specific substances or amounts.
The law could also provide protection from arrest, and ensure that those calling for help in good faith won't face so-called "Death by Distribution" charges.
But Senate Bill 458 didn't make the crossover to the House in the latest legislative session. Abbott emphasized the need for continued advocacy for broader protection.
"People cannot be confused, right?" said Abbott. "They need to know, ' Hey, if I call 911 and I've got fentanyl in my possession or I've got cocaine or I've got meth or I've got paraphernalia or weed.' It doesn't matter - you're going to be protected if you're saving someone's life."
Advocates also want an expanded law to encompass students at college who contact campus security for an individual who may be suffering an overdose, to offer protection to anyone providing aid during drug- or alcohol-related emergencies.
get more stories like this via email
A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …
As the opioid crisis continues, more New Hampshire grandparents are seeking financial help to raise their grandchildren. Already struggling with the …
As of Jan. 1, insulin will become a lot more affordable for many Nebraskans, and those who have come to rely on telehealth visits are more likely to …
Some state and local lawmakers are on a long list calling on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to require big oil companies to help offset the costs of …
Utilities and government agencies in the U.S. are carrying out plans to transition to cleaner electricity sources. To avoid being left behind…
Health and Wellness
November has been Diabetes Awareness Month - but heading into the holidays, people who are diabetic know they can't lose their focus on keeping it in …
Conservation groups are celebrating a long-fought battle to protect the dwindling population of wolverine in the Northwest and northern Rockies…
As world leaders gather in Dubai for the international conference on climate change, the City of Long Beach is acting on multiple fronts to help the …