This last Thursday in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, an 8-year-old boy found his dad unresponsive and in a slumped position over the steering wheel of their family car. The courageous young 8-year-old found himself in a position to take control of the critical situation by calling 911. When police arrived and emergency services provided assistance to the father that police would later report was the victim of a drug-overdose, Waukesha Police Cpt. Dan Bauman praised the boy for the actions he took that allowed his father to be taken to recover in a nearby hospital.
The Waukesha Police Cpt. Dan Bauman, that had commended the boy for his actions, also went on to advice the public on the seriousness of issues like this.
“This is not just a police department issue or a district attorney’s issue, we will not arrest our way out of this problem. This is a true community issue here”, he said when interviewed.
This time things ended up working out, thanks to the hasty actions of a young boy. All too often however, and in similar circumstances, there is often hesitation on the part of the individual, or individuals, that are in the position that that boy was in on Thursday. The hesitation to call 911 to the scene of a presumed overdose for fear out of possibly incurring criminal charges has been a topic of ongoing debate, and is the exact reason many in the past haven’t chosen to make what could have been a life-saving phone call, and a reason many still yet may hesitate to do so.
If emergency medical assistance can get to an overdose victim quickly enough many times they can prevent it from becoming fatal, but people using drugs or alcohol illegally often fear arrest if they call 911. In an effort to combat this hesitation many states have policies in place that exempt arrest and prosecution for minor drug and alcohol law violations – often referred to as Good Samaritan Laws, or Good Samaritan 911 Laws.
20 states in our country, as well as the District of Columbia, have policies in place that provide immunity from minor drug law violations, such as possession or possession of paraphernalia, though it’s important to note that these laws won’t apply to charges related to driving drunk or drugged, or to drug trafficking.
Click Here to find out if your state is one with a Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Law