New California Law Offering Immunity For Reporting Drug Overdoses

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A volunteer disposes a used syringe of heroin. (Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images)

A volunteer disposes a used syringe of heroin. (Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images)

BobButler_KCBS_0001r2 Bob Butler
Bob grew up as a Navy brat, living in Cambridge, Long Beach,...
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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A new state law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013 that may help save the lives of substance abusers: it offers immunity to users if they call 911 to help someone who has overdosed on drugs.

The so-called 911 Good Samaritan law allows people to call for help – even if high on drugs or in possession of them.

“Oftentimes you don’t know any history around what they took, how long ago they took it, what they were like before… that might be provided otherwise by somebody,” explained Malini K Singh, M.D., who faces these challenges of limited information as an attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital’s Emergency Room.

“I think we’re going to be, now, privy to a lot more information that we were not otherwise able to get,” she continued. “Especially around the patient’s condition and situation.”

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

There are, of course, some exceptions to the rule. The promise of immunity is not extended to drug dealers or people determined to be driving under the influence.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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