The Good Samaritan Act
The Good Samaritan Act in Florida is a law that grants "overdose witnesses"or "onlookers" with limited immunity from criminal prosecution if they call 911 to help save the life of an overdosing individual. The purpose of this act is to lessen the fear that witnesses have when deciding on whether or not to call medical assistance when someone is clearly overdosing; this fear has already caused many drug incidents to end tragically, even though help was possible.
The statistics on how many people could have been saved in the past few years is hard to swallow, as the Good Samaritan Act is not known by many, and was not even taken seriously by court or law enforcement officials.
The problem is that many witnesses who call 911 usually suffer from legal ramifications as a result of possessing drugs, being intoxicated, or perhaps even being accused of being at fault. It is because of these consequences that make people think twice before calling the police or ambulance to help an overdosing victim. However, with this law, they are protected, and the life of the overdosing victim can be saved.
It is found that Palm Beach County has had several cases where death could have been avoided. They discovered that most cases of overdosed victims among 353 different local drug deaths had witnesses. This means that preventative measures could have been taken, such as calling 911 immediately, which is one of the few things anyone can do to save a life.
Two thirds of the time, someone was present at the time of the overdose; over half the time, someone was aware that the overdosed victim was partaking in drug using activity; and over one third of the time, someone noticed suspicious behavior from the victim before the death even took place.
These small details indicate that it is very possible to prevent or help a person from dying of overdose, whether it is with prescription pills, heroin, alcohol, or cocaine.
There are certain things people do that fail to help overdosing victims, which should be avoided, such as: placing their bodies in the shower, letting them sleep it off, or bringing them beverages to sober up. These things do no good compared to getting medical attention, which is exactly what the Good Samaritan Act intends to do. 297 people already died in Palm Beach County due to drug overdose in the year prior, so it is important to educate Florida citizens about what to do if they witness someone in need of medical assistance.
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