A recent Editor’s Pick in the Albany Herald discusses the positive impact of a law that we believe is important for many to know about. As is the case in other states, Georgia has a Good Samaritan law. Georgia’s Good Samaritan law is found at the Official Code of Georgia Annotated 51-1-29. Good Samaritan laws protect medical professionals and the public from liability when they voluntarily and gratuitously assist or provide care to an injured victim. They are also intended to enable those having a medical emergency or those hurt and in need, to get the help that could save their lives or protect them from further injury.
These laws are now being expanded to an epidemic that is found across our country. Most Americans are aware that thousands in our country are addicted to prescription drugs, such as opioids. Many of these individuals are vulnerable to overdoses which can lead to death. To help those who might be saved after overdosing on these drugs, many states including Georgia have taken a step to save lives.
The Georgia General Assembly has enacted a specific law that allows the public to contact emergency help for those who may have overdosed on these drugs, without fear of criminal or other liability. This means that even if there are other illegal drugs or contraband on the premises, they will not be held for these potential crimes. The law is called the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law and is helping to save lives in Georgia. Another aspect of this law protects first responders from liability in administering help or medications, such as Narcan, that can reverse an overdose for at least a period of time so that the individual can get medical care.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2015 the Centers for Disease Control reported that over 50,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. Many of these deaths involved the use of opioids. This increasing public health issue has been the subject of legislation across the country. These laws range from more resources for treatment and detoxification to Good Samaritan immunity like that enacted in Georgia. It is well-known that those closest to the addicted person can save a life. Across the country, the new laws related to this epidemic, include the expanded use of drugs like Narcan, to those who are not medical professionals.
In addition to laws that immunize good faith reports of overdoses, some states have also opened up greater opportunities for those who have been brought into the justice system due to substance abuse. Together with programs for immunity and treatment, some states have also made changes to their sentencing programs for those involved in prescription drug related crimes.
The legal team at Scholle Law brings our readers information about Georgia law and legislation that impacts our daily lives. We are here to support those who have been injured or harmed in accidents of all kinds. We appreciate the opportunity to inform our readers and our clients of Georgia legislative developments and court decisions. If you need help or guidance after an injury or accident, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free legal consultation.