Good Samaritan Laws encourage bystanders to become “Good Samaritans” by summoning emergency responders without fear of arrest or other negative legal consequences.

When my son Gabriel overdosed the first time in 2010, his friends left him on the sidewalk to die. Gabriel was found by a lady who alerted emergency responders, was taken to a local hospital in a coma, under the name “John Doe,” a name often given to patients who are unidentified.

Eight hours later my family received a phone call from a friend stating they had heard Gabriel had overdosed and was at the hospital. Unsure of what to expect, I braced myself for the worst. After being told he would not survive or be brain dead, he awakened and was discharged stumbling out of the emergency room. I had asked the physician to admit him and help us find him help. The doctors response: “We only admit for an overdose of Xanax or alcohol.” Even though he had been on the brink of death, this was not sufficient for an admission or treatment help. When asking the medical personnel for guidance for assistance, their response was to take him to a detox center down the road.

In regards to being left on the sidewalk to die, his friends had bolted out of fear of being arrested and jailed.

On April 8, 2013, Gabriel overdosed again, this time in a sober living house. The scenario was different, his friend did not run, but called 911. He stayed with Gabriel and performed rescue breathing and CPR until emergency responders arrived. Gabriel passed away four days later. If Naloxone would have been accessible, maybe the outcome would have been different, maybe Gabriel would not have died, but been able to access a more structured inpatient recovery treatment and rehab. Because of his death, my position is very strong as a proponent for third party Naloxone Laws. Every single treatment center, recovery house, sober house, transitional house should be required to have this life saving drug on hand. I like how Dr Jeremy Engle from northern KY illustrates advocating for Naloxone Laws: If a person jumps into a body of water and is drowning, I will jump in to save him. Even if he jumps in again, I will save him every time (paraphrase mine).

Because of losing my son, my goal has been to advocate for Good Samaritan and Naloxone Laws in KY. Hoping when someone is around a person who overdoses that they would not run but call 911, and have accessibility to the reversal drug, Naloxone. Heroin has claimed the lives of 722 people this past year in KY.

And now that the 2015 KY legislative session has ended, and a new heroin bill has been signed into legislation.  With the new bill comes the controversial needle exchange allowing health departments to exchange out dirty needles from addicts and giving them clean ones.  Other provisions include access to treatment, pharmacies prescribing Naloxone, and a Good Samaritan “No Charge” provision to those who call for medical help when someone overdoses.

To save the most lives from Kentucky’s overdose epidemic, the No Charge Good Samaritan measure is a critical component.


More information about Naloxone and overdose Good Samaritan Laws
Because of what happened to my son, I will support Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Laws knowing someones loved one may be saved because naloxone was accessible and administered and because someone didn’t run but called 911. sitemgr_Naloxone-Good-samaritan-law-us-map.1

Naloxone Laws
What is naloxone?
imagesIt is a prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. It cannot be used to get high and is not addictive.

Naloxone is safe and effective; emergency medical professionals have used it for decades.

Which drugs are opiods?

Heroin, morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and other prescription pain medications.

How does naloxone help?

Naloxone is an antidote to opioid drugs. Opioids can slow or stop a person’s breathing, which causes death. Naloxone helps the person wake up and keeps them breathing.
An overdose death may happen hours after taking drugs. If a bystander acts when they first notice a person’s breathing has slowed, or when they can’t awaken a user, there is time to call 911, start rescue breathing (if needed) and give naloxone.

Can naloxone hurt someone?

No. If you suspect an opioid overdose, it is safe to give naloxone. People who used opioids will then wake up and go into withdrawal. Withdrawal is miserable but better than dying.

Naloxone does not prevent deaths caused by other drugs such as benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax®, Klonopin® and Valium®), bath salts, cocaine, methamphetamine or alcohol. Always call 911 as an overdose victim may need other care.

Who can carry or administer naloxone?

States with Naloxone Access Laws allows anyone at risk for having or witnessing a drug overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Users, family members and concerned friends can all carry naloxone in the same way people with allergies are allowed to carry an epinephrine syringe (“epi-pen”).

How do you give naloxone?

Bystanders can safely and legally spray naloxone into the nose or inject it into a muscle.
How long does naloxone work?

Naloxone acts in 2-5 minutes. If the person doesn’t wake up in 5 minutes, bystanders should give a second dose. (Rescue breathing should be done while you wait for the naloxone to take effect to that the person gets oxygen to their brain.)

Can naloxone wear off before the drugs that caused the overdose?

Yes. Naloxone typically wears off in 30-90 minutes and the person can stop breathing again unless more naloxone is available. For this reason, it is safest to call 911 and have the person taken for medical care.

Narcan/Naloxone Nasal Spray Demonstration
Casey's - Law Kentucky
What Kind of Law Is It?
This is a law for involuntary treatment.

About Casey’s LawDoes Involuntary Treatment Work?
Studies show that involuntary treatment can be just as successful as voluntary treatment. Most individuals who are substance abuse impaired receive court-ordered caseylogo_smalltreatment only after they have become arrested for a crime while under the influence of a substance. Drugs and crime often go hand in hand because people who are substance abuse impaired are forced by their disease to resort to any means necessary to procure their drug. Court-ordered treatment can be effective regardless of who initiates it.

Do the People with Substance Use Disorders Have to Want Help?
Denial and distorted thinking impedes their ability to make a rational decision. The “bottom” for many is death. Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The best hope of survival for a person who is substance abuse impaired is intervention.

Why Not Wait for Court Intervention?
Not all people who are substance abuse impaired are arrested or, in the event that they are, may not receive the necessary treatment.

What Does This Law Provide?
This act provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize his or her need for treatment due to their impairment. This law will allow parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is substance abuse impaired.

What Is the Length of Treatment That Can Be Ordered?
Treatment options can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case and can range from detoxification to intensive treatment through recovery.

What Happens If the Respondent Fails to Comply at Anytime During the Process?
Failure to comply may place the respondent in contempt of court.

Who Pays for the Treatment?
As the law is currently written, the petitioner is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as for treatment and must sign a guarantee for payment. You as the petitioner are responsible for finding the treatment facility. You choose how much to pay, if you pay at all. The good news is there are treatment facilities that are no cost available.

Can I Get a Copy of the Law?
Yes, click on the links below to access the written law.

Bill Download Go toCasey’s Law
The Jennifer Act (Indiana & Florida)

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The Jennifer Act is a legislative bill to bring aide and intervention to those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and can not stop using on their own without help. Recovery is possible and The Jennifer Act can lead them in the right direction. If you want more information, visit The Jennifer Act website.Sharon Blair (Jennifer's mom)
Go to Jennifer Act