Expand North Carolina's Good Samaritan Law
Dear Legislators,

Every signer of this letter has lost children, siblings, partners, and friends to overdose. We know firsthand that calling 911 will save lives, but North Carolina’s current Good Samaritan law is one of the most limited in the country, and it does not provide adequate protection for the law to be effective. We need your support to improve North Carolina’s Good Samaritan law to help reduce the number of people who lose their lives to drug overdose.

Our state’s drug overdose deaths increased by 40% in 2020 and continued to increase in 2021 and 2022. The increase has been driven primarily by an increase in illicit opioids such as fentanyl being found in more and more substances. Often the person using the substance does not even know these adulterants are present. We need to act with urgency.

As one of the most restricted Good Samaritan 911 laws in the country, North Carolina needs to address the following issues to strengthen our law and save lives:

The law needs to provide immunity for all types of drugs that people may possess so there is no barrier to calling. Fentanyl is not protected under our current Good Samaritan law and yet fentanyl is estimated to be involved in 70% of overdose deaths. Methamphetamine is also not protected.
The law needs to protect people from arrest and charging in addition to prosecution as the majority of states do. Young people in particular have told us that they would be scared to call if they thought they may get arrested.
The law needs to protect the overdose victim for calling 911 on their own behalf.
The law needs to protect others at the scene, not just the person who calls. Others may help assist the caller in taking care of the victim. It may also be that others at the scene are under the influence of substances and would be safer staying than fleeing the scene.
The law needs to add protection for calling campus security to incentivize scared students to call for help.
The law needs to be streamlined with simple messaging. It is so complicated as currently written that we cannot easily advertise and educate the public and law enforcement on the law.

Our state should not lag behind others when it comes to saving people’s lives. We want to do everything we can to prevent others from experiencing our grief.  We are open to discussion and we look forward to hearing from you.

[Signers will be listed here]

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