New York offers immunity to those who report drug overdoses

Posted at 8:30 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 23:56:25-04

As the nation's opioid epidemic worsens, the New York Police Department has started a campaign to encourage people to report overdoses. 

New York state has a "good Samaritan" law, prohibiting the police from arresting people for some offenses if they are report an overdose. The law prevents police arresting callers for crimes such as drug possession, underage drinking and possessing drug paraphernalia.

The law does not protect callers from being arrested if they have an open warrant, or distribution of drugs. 

“This campaign will help New Yorkers understand the protections of the Good Samaritan law for those suffering from an overdose or calling to help someone in need,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill told WNBC. “This is about saving lives. And this campaign will do just that.”

According to WNBC, there were 1,374 overdose deaths in New York in 2016. 

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk.Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.