911 Good Samaritan Bill Clears the House; Awaits Governor

Press Release March 12, 2007
Media Contact

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798 or Tommy McDonald at (505) 983-3277

SANTA FE–A measure that would shield people who seek help for a friend or family member who is experiencing a drug overdose and call 911 passed the House of Representatives by a 42-25 margin last night. The bill now awaits Gov. Bill Richardson’s signature. If signed, it will be the first state law of its kind in the nation.

SB 200, the 911 Good Samaritan bill, addresses the overwhelming rates of drug-related overdoses in New Mexico by encouraging people to call 911 in the event of an overdose. The bill provides limited immunity from drug possession charges when a witness or victim of a drug-related overdose calls emergency services for help. The bill passed in the Senate by a 29-6 margin last month.

New Mexico has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation, and one of the highest per capita heroin-related death rates in the United States.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction toward addressing the overwhelming number of preventable overdose deaths in New Mexico,” said Reena Szczepanski, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. “We look forward to the Governor signing this life-saving bill.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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