Iowans should never have to choose between saving someone’s life or putting themselves in legal jeopardy in the event of a drug overdose. That is the purpose behind the state’s Good Samaritan Immunity Law enacted in 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, more than twice the rate from a decade ago. The Iowa Department of Public Health says, since 2005, opioid overdoses in the state have more than tripled.
Good Samaritan law protects those who call 911
The law encourages those who witness a drug overdose to immediately call 911, rather than leaving the scene in fear of being arrested, especially if they are using drugs themselves. The law protects these individuals when they:
- Are the first to seek medical attention for an overdose victim
- Provide their contact information to first responders
- Remain at the scene until help arrives
- Cooperate with first responders and other emergency personnel
Fear of prosecution can lead to more deaths
Iowa health officials say overdose victims are often left alone to die by friends, family members or others who fear they could face drug charges or other legal issues. The law seeks to reduce the number of fatal overdoses in Iowa, even if those reporting an overdose are under the influence of drugs when authorities arrive.
Drug charges can bring serious consequences if a person is convicted. Consulting an experienced criminal law attorney here in Iowa is crucial to determining the best defense possible. Your attorney can also help protect your rights if charges arise after you have reported a possible overdose under the protection of the Good Samaritan Law.