New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law Takes Effect

Albany, NY – Sunday, September 18th, the statewide 911 Good Samaritan Policy will take effect. The purpose of the law is to encourage a witness or victim of an alcohol or other drug related medical emergency to call 911 to seek emergency assistance in order to save the life of a potential overdose victim. This new life-saving policy gives legal amnesty to individuals who are in need of medical treatment resulting from drug or alcohol use, as well as to individuals who seek help for someone else in need of medical assistance resulting from drug or alcohol use. The law protects both parties from being charged or prosecuted for drug or alcohol possession.

“Most overdose deaths are preventable if emergency services are contacted immediately,” said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill. “The number one reason people don’t call for emergency services for an overdose is fear of getting arrested.  We want to end drug and alcohol abuse, but not by having overdose victims die.  The whole point of ending drug and alcohol abuse is to protect life, not destroy it.”

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) applauds the sponsors of the bill, Assemblymember Gottfried and Senator DeFrancisco, as well as Senator Hannon and the leadership from both the Senate and Assembly for working hard to make sure this life saving bill got to the Governor’s desk.


SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process by pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.