Friend Overdosed? Call 911 Without Fear of Prosecution Under New Calif. Law
Your pal just flat-lined after a night of prodigious partying. And you're afraid to call 911 because you've done some of that illicit partying, too.
A new law that takes effect Jan. 1 will allow you to do the right thing -- call for help -- without fear of being prosecuted for minor drug violations.
The Drug Policy Alliance this week says that California ...
... is the largest of 10 states to pass such a "911 good Samaritan" law.
Of course AB 472 came from Bay Area lawmaker Tom Ammiano, the most liberal guy this side of Tom Hayden. (Aside to my boy Tommy A, as we call him: Good lookin' out. Fist-to-fist pound).
According to the Alliance:
California's 911 Good Samaritan law provides limited protections from arrest and prosecution for low-level drug law violations at the scene of an overdose, including possession of small amounts of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Those who sell drugs are not protected under the new law and existing laws prohibiting drug-related violations, such as drugged driving, remain unchanged.
So: Minor user -- call 911. Dealer -- let them die?
Anyway, the DPA, long a proponent of drug decriminalization, is psyched for this one. Meghan Ralston, the group's harm-reduction manager:
Reassuring all Californians that calling 911 is safe and the right thing to do when someone's life is on the line is essential.
Just don't use our phone. (We kid. It's out of battery).
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.