The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act

Leader staff

Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you find somebody in distress due to a drug overdose. That’s the message from the RCMP.

Apparently people have been hesitating to do that, for fear of legal repercussions.

Here’s what you need to know:

From January 2016 to December 2018, 1,971 deaths in the province of Alberta have been attributed to apparent opioid-related overdoses. Alberta RCMP were dispatched to several of those incidents and determined that in some cases bystanders, friends or family members were hesitant to call emergency services for assistance due to concerns about the possibility of getting in trouble with the law. Every overdose death is tragic, and many of these tragedies can be avoided if people who witness overdose situations seek emergency help promptly.

To encourage people to seek life-saving emergency help in an overdose situation, the RCMP, in collaboration with Heath Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Alberta, want to remind residents of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act which provides some legal protections for people who experience or witness an overdose and call 911 or their local emergency number for help.

Legal protection granted by the Act

The Act is meant to encourage people to seek emergency help during an overdose by helping to reduce fear of seeking police or medical assistance. It applies to anyone seeking emergency assistance during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. The Act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene, as well as anyone else who is at the scene when help arrives.

The Act can protect you from:

· Charges for possession of a controlled substance (i.e. drugs) under

· Consequences of breach of conditions regarding simple possession of controlled substances (i.e. drugs) in: pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences and parole.

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