Known as both the “Good Samaritan Law” or “David’s Law,” Pennsylvania’s Act 139 provides immunity from charge or prosecution for certain crimes to anyone who notifies authorities or calls 911 to report a drug poisoning event, or overdose. If you call 911 to report a potential drug overdose, you MUST remain with the person until help arrives, according to the law.
To be protected, individuals need to provide their name and cooperate with law enforcement. Drug crimes related to possession of small amounts of drugs or paraphernalia are covered under this law; however, possession of drugs with “intent to sell” is NOT protected by this statute. The person who overdosed is also protected under the law if the person who made the call is protected.
The Good Samaritan law also gives professional provider immunity to any prescriber who dispenses Naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, to an individual at risk of experiencing an overdose, or an individual who may be a potential witness to an overdose. Criminal, civil and professional immunity is also provided to anyone who, in good faith, administers Naloxone to an individual experiencing an overdose.
Passed in 2014, Act 139 expands access to Naloxone and provides immunity to individuals who prescribe, dispense and administer Naloxone.
PENNSYLVANIA STANDING ORDER
The Physician General authorized a statewide standing order for Naloxone, which permits an individual to obtain Naloxone from a local pharmacy without a prescription. The standing order further expands access to Naloxone for individuals at risk of experiencing or witnessing an overdose.
Although first responders are often the ones who administer Naloxone to someone suffering from an overdose, family members and friends are sometimes the first ones on the scene. Every second counts and many lives can be saved if family and friends are equipped with Naloxone and know how to use it. Individuals are encouraged to complete Naloxone training programs in their community in order to properly administer the reversal drug. You can also watch our training video on our Video page.