LANSING – Michigan House Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) introduced Good Samaritan legislation designed to help individuals experiencing a drug overdose. The bill would provide limited protections to individuals, or someone accompanying them, from minor charges when they seek emergency medical attention. The immunity granted in the law is limited to simple drug possession and being under the influence, and does not extend to other, more serious crimes.

“This legislation is about saving lives. As with almost any medical emergency, an overdose victim’s chance of survival greatly increases if they can get medical treatment and get it quickly,” said Singh. “Unfortunately, drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Michigan. Research has shown that the most common reason for not seeking medical attention for a drug overdose is fear of arrest. I hope that enacting this legislation can help us reverse the trend.”

More than 20 other states have already enacted similar legislation, including other Midwestern states such as Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 2013, 1,533 people died from drug overdoses in Michigan, an 18 percent increase from the year before. A study published by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute in 2011 found that 88 percent of opiate users would be more likely to call 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose once they learned of the state’s Good Samaritan law.