Hawaii Hopes for Good Samaritan Bill
In Hawaii, drug overdose has become more deadly than drowning, car crashes or pedestrian fatalities. As the number of fatalities caused by drugs rise, Hawaii makes an effort to prevent more deaths by passing a “Good Samaritan” bill. In just the last decade Hawaii has seen a 70 percent increase in overdoses, the number of fatalities in 2011 reached a new high at 183. When it comes to drug overdoses, a simple call for help can mean the difference between life and death. So why aren’t people making that life-saving call? Individuals won’t call 911 is there is drug paraphernalia about and there is always going to be paraphernalia around. Community Health Outreach Representative, Heather Lusk says this, “Our data shows that about 70 percent of people who witnessed an overdose did not call 911 for fear of arrest or prosecution.” In seventeen other states there are amnesty bills that would offer those who call 911 during a medical emergency protection from prosecution, but Hawaii does not. Efforts to pass a measure failed this legislative session, but supporters will give it another try in January.
“The bill wouldn’t give amnesty to drug traffickers or people you are concerned about. It would allow folks who are around but are afraid to call 911, because of drug paraphernalia or other drugs, to be able to save a life- by calling 911,” says Lusk. Many are concerned that passing this bill would send out the message that drug use is sometimes allowed, but supporters of the medical amnesty measure say it goes beyond the right and wrong of using drugs. “A life is more important than a criminal charge,” said Lusk. Hoping this bill gets passed soon, for Hawaiian residents think it will save lives because the extra minutes you would take to get rid of the paraphernalia could jeopardize that person’s life.
Seabrook offers intervention services by highly qualified and certified Family Intervention specialists, which can help you, bring your loved one to terms about their addiction. Family Intervention results in immediate entry into detox, alcohol rehab, drug rehab or other appropriate treatment settings for the person in need.