"Most people don't want to break the law," Coleman said. Read more. "I don’t know how many more people need to die before the governor realizes that people need to call 911 and prevent these overdoses.". However, "underground" programs like the Austin Harm Reduction Coalition have operated for years in the state despite being technically illegal. Unfortunately, Texas does not have a Good Samaritan Law related to opioid overdose. More than half of the states in the U.S. have enacted “9-1-1 Good Samaritan” laws, which shield people from criminal liability for minor drug possession if they go, or take someone, to a hospital or another medical facility because of an overdose. NO GOOD SAMARITAN LAW. h�bbd```b``v�����+X� �"�fIF�p{�8�d�����@��#s2H(F&����7� Q+ Forty states and the District of Colombia have Good Samaritan laws on the books — some that go so far as to offer immunity from arrest for drug users who call to report overdoses and others that are stricter and offer only a defense at the time of prosecution. 0 The Urban Survivors Union is a national drug users union mobilizing against the war on drugs. endstream endobj startxref Unfortunately, Texas does not have a Good Samaritan Law related to opioid overdose. Similar Good Samaritan laws, as they are called, have been passed in other states, leading to a significant reduction in the number of overdoses. There’s no way around it," Coleman said. Police often look the other way because of these programs’ benefits. Austin American-Statesman ~ 305 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 ~ Do Not Sell My Personal Information ~ Cookie Policy ~ Do Not Sell My Personal Information ~ Privacy Policy ~ Terms Of Service ~ Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Read more. 991 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<2A492465BB89224FBDD3F6405DDEDCF0>]/Index[979 25]/Info 978 0 R/Length 77/Prev 723384/Root 980 0 R/Size 1004/Type/XRef/W[1 3 1]>>stream Opponents of the legislation have said that handing out syringes to drug users encourages drug abuse. "Unfortunately, stigma is still high in the Legislature when it comes to treating drug addiction as a health issue. Does Texas have a Good Samaritan Law? In 2017, nearly 3,000 people in Texas died of drug overdoses, up 4 percent from 2016, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The law needs to be changed to fit the circumstances.". The state legislature's own research arm says that drug related overdoses in Texas … ���4�����5c��h��` "��኎Ɗ n`���8���n ���l�9@�� `T��d�Jv;�x�0�0�10D�N`�d=��|����e~&�� ���������6. Immunity for Calling 911 or Seeking Emergency Medical Assistance – Good Samaritan Laws. The laws also do not appear to increase the number of drug users, the data show. Still, harm reduction advocates say the legislation would be a step in the right direction. h�b```a``������� Ā B@V �8+!��l��� �zef``��a9���1A��9�����FWg����)��V�V����[ᑆ��8��͑���� The bipartisan bills, however, face an uphill battle; Gov. It passed the Texas House 140-4. The Urban Survivors Union is a national drug users union mobilizing against the war on drugs. © Gannett Co., Inc. 2020. 106.04(e), 106.05(e) • Minor does not commit an offense of "We are definitely disappointed," she said. Current Overdose-Related Protections in Texas Underage Drinking Good Samaritan Law – Alcoholic Beverage Code, Sec. The Act states: “a person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent Some so-called Good Samaritan laws are even more insidious; Iowa’s law is a prime example. Choose the plan that's right for you. Too often, the people who step in to save a life end up sued by the person they saved or arrested by law enforcement when they are found to be under the influence or in possession … Some so-called Good Samaritan laws are even more insidious; Iowa’s law is a prime example. 1003 0 obj <>stream Many first responders to overdose do not call 911 for fear of arrest. Greg Abbott vetoed similar legislation in 2015 despite it receiving widespread support in the House and Senate. He thinks the bills have a better chance this session because of the attention around the opioid crisis. Cate Graziani, who is advocating for harm reduction bills on behalf of the newly formed Texas Harm Reduction Alliance, said that despite bipartisan support for the Good Samaritan legislation, it will face some scrutiny. Coleman has filed similar legislation in previous sessions that did not get traction. "I think it’s very important that we move through these bills and try to make sure that we are protecting people’s health so they can kick drugs without dying from some other disease or continue to pass diseases on to other individuals.". Coleman said these programs will become more important as lawmakers crack down on opioid prescriptions and more people shift to injected drugs such as heroin. NATIONAL DRUG USER ORGANIZING. Texas protects its citizens through The Texas Good Samaritan Act. He said at the time that the legislation had "an admirable goal" but "did not include adequate protections to prevent its misuse by habitual drug users and drug dealers.". However, according to the CDC, people who use syringe services programs are five times as likely to enter substance abuse treatment and are more likely to stop injecting drugs. Texas Good Samaritan Law. A large portion of the new cases can be attributed to injection drug use. Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, is the only region in Texas that has a lawful syringe exchange pilot program because of local government support and a portion of a 2007 Texas health care funding bill that allowed for its creation. Many of the increases are related to methamphetamine and opioid use. "Sometimes that’s what it takes, the baby step and getting some evidence, having law enforcement and the court system kind of see how it plays out and that some of their unfounded fears may not be coming true, which could open the possibility of having a stronger Good Samaritan (law) in the future," Graziani said. All rights reserved. The recent conclusion of the 86th Texas Legislature means that, for at least two more years, Texas will remain one of the few states without a ‘Good Samaritan law’ providing basic legal protection from low-level drug offenses to 9-1-1 callers requesting emergency assistance for a suspected overdose… 5 The act became law on May 4, 2017, and applies to all controlled substances or illegal drugs. Watson is attempting to remedy that problem with updated language in his bill that would tighten rules about when and how often drug users charged with crimes would be able to use the defense. Digital access or digital and print delivery. Persons not licensed in the healing arts who in good faith administer emergency care as emergency medical service personnel are not liable in civil damages for an act performed in administering the care unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent. NATIONAL DRUG USER ORGANIZING. 979 0 obj <> endobj The Texas Good Samaritan Law states, “a person who in good faith administers emergency care is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency”. "This encourages individuals present at an overdose to call for help and save a life — a significant step in helping Texas to address this serious problem," Watson said. There, immunity is provided only once to the caller and the victim. In the Cedar Rapids case, the woman had called 911 to report an overdose earlier that week, and knew that doing so again would likely lead to her arrest. Similar Good Samaritan laws, as they are called, have been passed in other states, leading to a significant reduction in the number of overdoses.

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