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Witnesses to Drug Overdoses in New York are Now Immune from Law if they Call 911


Posted on Jul 28, 2011

A new law has been signed in Albany to provide immunity for those, who call the authorities in the event of an overdose. This is meant to address the fear that bystanders have, when drugs and illicit activities are around, to not call emergency services in the event of someone else's medical emergency.

The fourth leading cause of death in New York is drug overdose, 85% of which occurs in the presence of others. In half of these cases, witnesses do not call for help. Long Island suffered 370 overdose deaths in 2009 alone.

A similar "Good Samaritan 911" law is already in place in New Mexico and Washington. Any witnesses protected under this law will be free from drug-related prosecution.

Concerns abound, however, regarding drug traffickers, who might take advantage of the law to "entice our children to consume the very substances that cause their overdose." Responding to this concern, Gov. Cuomo and others claim there is an exception in the law, which allows police to "initially detain and interview someone who might have called 911." This exception will come in handy for drug pushers.

In the end, the goal of the law is to protect those, who might otherwise be doomed to death because witnesses were too frightened to call the police. Many advocates, who have had loved ones die in this very manner, saw this risk-aversive solution as the ultimate, unassailable goal.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website http://www.oginski-law.com. If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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