Like other U.S. states, Tennessee has passed a Good Samaritan law that protects people from potential legal repercussions of helping others in need. The law, inspired by a Bible story, applies to anyone giving aid in good faith without hopes of financial gain.
How Does the Good Samaritan Law Protect You?
While trained first responders such as EMTs can mobilize quickly, they can’t always arrive at an accident scene instantly. When you see someone hurt or in danger, performing CPR or providing first aid can save a life. An example of being a Good Samaritan could be calling 911 and helping a driver get to safety after you witness a car accident.
Tennessee’s Good Samaritan law also applies to people who intervene during a drug overdose. Approximately 130 Americans die from accidental overdoses daily, but most of these deaths are avoidable if the victim is around people who know how to respond and act quickly.
In an accidental overdose, Good Samaritan laws provide limited protection from arrest, charge or prosecution for low-level drug violations. That means you can provide lifesaving aid to a friend or loved one without worrying about getting in legal trouble.
How to Respond to a Drug Overdose
Overdoses can be fatal if they cause the victim’s central nervous and respiratory symptoms to cease functioning. If you notice warning signs of a drug overdose, staying calm and levelheaded can help a loved one survive. After evaluating their symptoms and noting any issues such as shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, blue lips and unresponsiveness, move the person into the recovery position and call 911 immediately.
If your loved one regularly takes an opioid drug such as OxyContin, having an opioid agonist called naloxone on hand can block the medication’s harmful effects and help restore a normal breathing pattern until emergency responders arrive on the scene. In Tennessee, this medication is available online with no prescription at naloxoneexchange.com, so if your loved one uses opioids, you should have some in your household medicine cabinet and make sure everyone knows how to use it. It’s safe to keep around your house because it has no effect on people without opioids in their system.
Tennessee’s First ASAM-Certified Treatment Facility
While a near-death experience such as a drug overdose can be frightening, it could be the opportunity you need to convince someone you care about to enter an addiction treatment program. To communicate the severity of the situation, you can explain the frightening symptoms you witnessed while they were under the influence of drugs and in danger of losing their life.
At Cumberland Heights, we have been helping people overcome the disease of addiction since 1966. As an accredited, nonprofit treatment center, we achieve our mission by combining 12-step principles with the therapeutic tools necessary to help our clients achieve lifelong sobriety. To learn more about receiving high-quality care for yourself or someone you love, contact us today.