On Friday, December 7, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Amendment Act of 2012 (#B19-754). The legislation provides limited legal protection for those who witness or experience a drug overdose and summon medical assistance. The legislation now goes before the United States Congress for review, as required by federal law. A coalition comprised of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital, Bread for the City, HIPS, and local parents and advocates were responsible for this victory.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy has been involved in this fight since the very beginning, and it is such an honor to see the work of our coalition finally paying off. Several SSDPers recount their experiences working on this effort;
Drew Stromberg, Outreach Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy: “Early one morning, I joined forces with Eric Sterling, a member of our Board of Directors, to flyer outside of a methadone clinic. We got to see firsthand the people we were trying to help with this law”
Brandon Levey, University of Maryland SSDP alum and Vice Chair of our Board of Directors: “I worked with SSDPers and others in drug policy to review the drafts of the DC Good Samaritan Bill and provide feedback on the process. There were times that unforeseen challenges or opponents arose, but I saw how the strong coalition, led in part by SSDP, helped overcome them to eventually pass this life-saving Bill.”
Irina Alexander, former SSDP Board Chair and University of Maryland Alum: “I remember helping draft a version of this law with fellow SSDPers Mike Liszewski and Kellen Russoniello on the floor of my room, with papers sprawled out in every direction. Little did I know that less than a year later, the life-changing law so many people and organizations worked so hard on would actually become a reality. It’s really amazing to have been a part of that process.”
This is a huge step forward for the District of Columbia and for sensible drug policies everywhere and we’re excited to have been a part of it.