Connecticut provides Good Samaritan protections for some drug offenses
The death of a young man in the back of a Honda Civic has caught the attention of media outlets throughout the country. The death was likely preventable and a hospital was less than two miles away. Yet the twenty year-olds friends chose not to take the man to the hospital for treatment out of fear that they would be prosecuted for various minor drug crimes.
Unfortunately, stories similar to the death of this young man are fairly common. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) notes that drug overdoses tripled in the United States from 1990 to 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports over 38,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2010 alone. A report by the New Haven Register notes that overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for ages ranging from 25 to 64 in the U.S.
These numbers are alarming, and legislatures are making moves to help reduce the fatalities associated with these preventable deaths. One step towards lowering the rate: Good Samaritan laws offering immunity against certain drug charges.
More on Good Samaritan Laws
Good Samaritan Laws are designed to encourage helping those in need without fear of prosecution. When it comes to drug offenses, this translates to two main areas of protection: protection from prosecution for calling 911 for help with an overdose and protection from prosecution for possessing certain substances.
Seeking treatment for an overdose is particular helpful for opium related overdoses, like those connected with heroin use. Opiates can slow the respiratory system and may take hours to become fatal. Medical intervention can often reverse the negative impact of these drugs.
Certain criteria are often required to qualify for immunity under these laws. Some examples include:
• Reporting the overdose in good faith
• Remaining with the victim of an overdose until medical aid arrives
• Cooperating with medical personnel
The second tier of protection, against prosecution for certain substances, can apply to the possession of Narcan, a naloxone medication that helps reverse the effect of opiates reducing the risk of death from an overdose.
Good Samaritan Laws and drug charges in Connecticut
Connecticut offers some level of protection under Good Samaritan Laws for those accused of drug crimes. For example, to qualify under drug immunity laws for those who seek medical treatment the individual must not seek treatment during an arrest or execution of a warrant. Connecticut law also offers some protection against prosecution for possession of Narcan.
Meeting the criteria for these protections can be difficult, and these are just a few of the defenses that may be available to those facing drug charges in Connecticut. As a result, those facing these charges should seek the counsel of an experienced Connecticut drug crime defense lawyer to discuss defenses that may apply to their situation.