In the US, the opioid epidemic continues and Pennsylvania is no exception. In many states, policymakers face uncertainty on how to curb the epidemic and reduce the overdose rates. The Good Samaritan law is among the attempts at reducing overdoses. The NCSL reports that Pennsylvania is one of 40 states that have a Good Samaritan law.
In the past, the person who overdosed and anyone present would face drug charges. If police become involved on the scene, all those nearby would have charges of possession of a controlled substance on their record. Before, this kept people from making calls to medical professionals in the case of an overdose.
If you are with someone and they overdose, you can now call 911 without fear. Even if you are on probation, you have immunity against any probation violations or drug arrests. You do have to remain with the person until help arrives and you must provide your name and location upon calling 911. The law prioritizes helping the victim over drug charges.
As with many laws, this one does come with exceptions. If you commit a more serious crime, then you cannot rely on granted immunity. For instance, if someone provides drugs to another person and that person dies from an overdose, then the provider will still face charges for the offense. It does not matter if he or she called for help. If you commit a low-level drug offense, however, the person’s life takes priority.
The above information is supposed to educate on Good Samaritan laws. It is not intended as legal advice.