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    September 21, 2018 at 9:27 am #1497
    1. WHEREAS, 40 states and the District of Columbia have a “Good Samaritan” law in place, protecting
    2. witnesses and bystanders of opioid overdose from arrest, charge, or prosecution for possession of a
    3. controlled substance and/or drug paraphernalia; and
    1. WHEREAS, each jurisdiction’s version of such a law provides different protections and restrictions on
    2. applicability1; and
    1. WHEREAS, a 2018 study performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
    2. Administration found that implementation of a Good Samaritan law results in a 15% reduction in opioid
    3. overdose mortality2; and
    1. WHEREAS, the evaluation of the Washington state “911 Good Samaritan Law” (RCW 4.24.300) in
    2. 2011 found that 88% of respondents would have been more likely to contact emergency services if they
    3. had been aware of the law3; and
    1. WHEREAS, knowledge of the Indiana Good Samaritan law protections was found to increase
    2. likelihood of calling 911 at the scene of an overdose by 69.4 percentage points4, therefore, be it
    1. RESOLVED, that the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) propose the American
    2. Osteopathic Association (AOA) consider creating a database containing up-to-date information on the
    3. protections and restrictions offered by the law each state to witnesses and bystanders of opioid ovedose
    4. when contacting emergency services and, be it further
    1. RESOLVED, that SOMA propose the AOA consider creating educational materials for physicians and
    2. patients on the specifics of the Good Samaritan law in their region, and, be it further
    1. RESOLVED, that SOMA and the AOA support the adoption of legal protections for witnesses and
    2. bystanders of opioid overdose in those states that have failed to do so and, be it further,
    1. RESOLVED, the SOMA educate its membership when and where appropriate on the Good Samaritan
    2. law in their respective states and support efforts for nationwide establishment of such laws.

    Explanatory Statement
    The Good Samaritan law database would contain accessible information on the laws applicable to individuals responding to an overdose, detailing the specifics of the crimes and civil liabilities they are shielded from, as well as the circumstances of that protection. More in-depth information is provided as educational material for physicians and other health care providers.


    1. Davis, C., Chang, S., Carr, D., Hernandez-Delgado, H. (2017). Legal Interventions to Reduce Overdose Mortality: Naloxone Access and Overdose Good Samaritan Laws
    2. Mcclellan, C., Lambdin, B. H., Ali, M. M., Mutter, R., Davis, C. S., Wheeler, E., Pemberton, M., Kral, A. H. (2018). Opioid-overdose laws association with opioid use and overdose mortality. Addictive Behaviors. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.03.014
    3. Banta-Green, C. J., Kuszler, P. C., Coffin, P. O., Schoeppe, J. A. (2011). Washington’s 911 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Law: Initial Evaluation Results. University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute
    4. Watson, D. P., Ray, B., Robinson, L., Huynh, P., Sightes, E., Walker, S., Bruker, K., Duwve, J. (2018). Lay responder naloxone access and Good Samaritan law compliance: Postcard survey results from 20 Indiana counties. Harm Reduction Journal,15(1). doi:10.1186/s12954-018-0226x

    Submitted by:
    Sven Wang, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Mayen Gonzalez Tirse, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Justine Harris McKee, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Aeriel Petty, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Samantha Ashley Gooch, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Carlos Garcia Galindo, OMS II – Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Action Taken:


    Effective Time Period: Ongoing