Submitted by: MSV Medical Student Section
WHEREAS, the number of fatal heroin and fentanyl overdoses in Virginia has steadily increased over the past 5 years, with an almost 6-fold increase in the number of deaths between 2011 to 20161, and
WHEREAS, current Virginia law (§ 18.2-251.03 Safe reporting of overdoses) allows for an affirmative defense to prosecution of an individual who, in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical attention for himself, if he is experiencing an overdose, or for another individual, if such other individual is experiencing an overdose2, and
WHEREAS, current Virginia law does not offer immunity from arrest following emergency reporting of overdose for themselves or another person, and
WHEREAS, the person reporting the overdose is subject to arrest when there is concomitant criminal offense related to the controlled substance, alcohol, or combination of such substances that resulted in the overdose, and
WHEREAS, there is precedence of good Samaritan laws related to arrest in circumstances of overdose reporting as seen in Maryland Senate Bill 654 – Criminal Procedure – Immunity– Alcohol- or Drug-Related Medical Emergencies approved by the governor, May 12, 20153, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Medical Society of Virginia amend its current policy 40.2.04 – “Good Samaritan” Protection for Overdose Witness as follows:
The Medical Society of Virginia supports granting “Good Samaritan” protection for those who call 9-1-1 when witnessing a possible drug overdose, including protection from arrest for persons reporting a possible overdose.