Vermont urges help in overdoses, notes Good Samaritan Law

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont law enforcement and the public health community are urging people to call for help if they are present during a drug overdose.

Vermonters are reminded that the state’s Good Samaritan Law provides protections from criminal liability for those who call for help from the scene of an overdose.

“Saving lives is a top priority for Vermont’s law enforcement, not prosecuting those seeking medical help in emergencies,” Attorney T.J. General Donovan said in a news release. “I hope that we can spread greater awareness about the Good Samaritan Law so that no Vermonter fears calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose. Taking this action step could save someone’s life.”

The call comes in the aftermath of a report from the Department of Health that found that opioid-related deaths increased by 38% in Vermont last year.

Vermont’s 2013 Good Samaritan Law ensures that someone who calls for emergency medical assistance for a drug or alcohol overdose is protected from drug prosecutions and violations of furlough or parole.

The Good Samaritan Law does have limitations. It does not protect from eviction, intervention by the Department for Children and Families or other civil legal cases.