Many first responders to overdose do not call 911 for fear of arrest. "Sometimes that’s what it takes, the baby step and getting some evidence, having law enforcement and the court system kind of see how it plays out and that some of their unfounded fears may not be coming true, which could open the possibility of having a stronger Good Samaritan (law) in the future," Graziani said. People would not be able to use the defense more than once or if they had previously been convicted of a drug-related offense, he said. Immunity for Calling 911 or Seeking Emergency Medical Assistance – Good Samaritan Laws. Greg Abbott vetoed similar legislation in 2015 despite it receiving widespread support in the House and Senate. He said at the time that the legislation had "an admirable goal" but "did not include adequate protections to prevent its misuse by habitual drug users and drug dealers.". ���4�����5c��h��` "��Ɗ n`���8���n ���l�9@�� `T��d�Jv;�x�0�0�10D�N`�d=��|����e~&�� ���������6. The Urban Survivors Union is a national drug users union mobilizing against the war on drugs. Unfortunately, Texas does not have a Good Samaritan Law related to opioid overdose. One bill, SB 2205, filed by Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, would make syringe exchange programs legal throughout the state. The bills proposed in Texas would be among the weakest, Graziani said. Some so-called Good Samaritan laws are even more insidious; Iowa’s law is a prime example. NO GOOD SAMARITAN LAW. Similar Good Samaritan laws, as they are called, have been passed in other states, leading to a significant reduction in the number of overdoses. The Act states: “a person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent In 2017, nearly 3,000 people in Texas died of drug overdoses, up 4 percent from 2016, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 The act became law on May 4, 2017, and applies to all controlled substances or illegal drugs. Read more. UNLICENSED MEDICAL PERSONNEL. %PDF-1.6 %���� "I don’t know how many more people need to die before the governor realizes that people need to call 911 and prevent these overdoses.". However, "underground" programs like the Austin Harm Reduction Coalition have operated for years in the state despite being technically illegal. It passed the Texas House 140-4. Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted. Current Overdose-Related Protections in Texas Underage Drinking Good Samaritan Law – Alcoholic Beverage Code, Sec. 991 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<2A492465BB89224FBDD3F6405DDEDCF0>]/Index[979 25]/Info 978 0 R/Length 77/Prev 723384/Root 980 0 R/Size 1004/Type/XRef/W[1 3 1]>>stream Persons not licensed in the healing arts who in good faith administer emergency care as emergency medical service personnel are not liable in civil damages for an act performed in administering the care unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act in Canada provides some legal protection for people who experience or witness an overdose and call 911 or their local emergency number for help. endstream endobj startxref Coleman has filed similar legislation in previous sessions that did not get traction. Many of the increases are related to methamphetamine and opioid use. So-called Good Samaritan provisions already exist in 24 states and Washington, D.C. HB 225 passed the otherwise acrimonious Texas Senate 30-1. All rights reserved. "This encourages individuals present at an overdose to call for help and save a life — a significant step in helping Texas to address this serious problem," Watson said. Lawmakers will consider other harm reduction measures, including a host of bills that would make syringe exchange programs legal in Texas. "We are definitely disappointed," she said. The bills would help cut down on disease infection, lawmakers say. There’s no way around it," Coleman said. The recent conclusion of the 86th Texas Legislature means that, for at least two more years, Texas will remain one of the few states without a ‘Good Samaritan law’ providing basic legal protection from low-level drug offenses to 9-1-1 callers requesting emergency assistance for a suspected overdose… I do believe that has changed over time as more information has come out around opioid overdoses.". Another, HB 1722, filed by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, would allow programs only in those places where county commissioners had declared a public health emergency. New data presented by the Texas Department of State Health Services to lawmakers over the summer showed as much as a 15 percent drop in opioid overdoses in the past five years where these laws are in effect, despite nationwide increases. In a nutshell, this law protects those who act in good faith to help others from facing a lawsuit if something were to go wrong while rendering aid.