Unintentional drug overdose is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Overdose bystanders may not call for medical assistance for fear of being arrested for drug-related or other crimes. In response, most states have enacted "Good Samaritan" laws that create immunities or other legal protections for people who call for help in the event of an overdose. Some states have passed comprehensive Good Samaritan overdose prevention laws that provide broad protection. Other states have passed laws that consider seeking medical assistance for a person experiencing an overdose as an affirmative defense, or as a mitigating factor during sentencing.
This is a longitudinal dataset, displaying laws from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in effect on January 1, 2007 through June 1, 2021.