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Home » Uncategorized » Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses (Cibola-OSAP)

Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses (Cibola-OSAP)


Saturday, August 31, 2019; Grants, NMNo one should die of an overdose when help is a phone call away.  On this, National Overdose Awareness Day (August 31, 2019), Cibola – Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (Cibola-OSAP) wants to remind residents of the New Mexico Good Samaritan Law, which protects people calling for medical assistance, especially during an overdose.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace said, “The Good Samaritan Law encourages people to do the right thing and render aid during an overdose without fear of prosecution.”

In 2007, New Mexico became the first state to pass a 911 Good Samaritan law. The law protects people who seek help for a friend or family member who is experiencing a drug overdose and call 911. Since then over twenty states have followed suit with laws like New Mexico’s to address the overwhelming toll drug-related overdose deaths cost our nation.

Milan Police Chief Pat Salazar said, “Good Samaritan law was passed by Governor Johnson, because people were afraid to call 911 when there was an overdose from any narcotic.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NM-Overdose-Deaths-by-County-2012-2017-NMDOH-IBIS.jpg
A map of the New Mexico overdose death rate by county from 2013-2017 from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Indicator Based Information System for Public Health Data Resource (IBIS).

Between 2013 to 2017, Cibola County reported an overdose death rate of 16.8 per 100,000 population, considerably lower than New Mexico’s average of 24.6. There were 2,470 death attributed to drug overdoses in the state during that time period, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

Calling 911 during a suspected overdose to summon emergency medical services can save a life and further lower these rates.

Cibola-OSAP project specialist Lori Vigil says, “The Good Samaritan law is all about saving lives. Calling for help during an overdose saves the lives of people that are using substances. People need to know there’s not a stigma about calling for help when a person’s life is in danger.”

Salazar clarified the law, “The immunity extends to any person who is the victim of a drug overdose and anyone who is reporting a drug overdose. We still get calls, and we do find prescription and narcotics. We remove the substances and don’t file charges on victim or the person reporting.”

Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adam issued an advisory calling for more people to carry naloxone and Narcan which reverses an opioid overdose.

A recent New Mexico law, that went into effect in July, requires anyone receiving a prescription for opioids be co-prescribed opioid overdose-reversal medication such as naloxone or Narcan, if receiving a prescription that last five days or more.

Anyone receiving an opioid prescription should have these antidotes on hand in the home in case of an accidental overdose and advise EMTs if the antidotes were administered prior to their arrival at the scene of a suspected opioid overdose.

Salazar added, “Our officers carry Narcan in case of a drug overdose.”

Sheriff Mace said Cibola deputies also carry Narcan and have been trained to administering it, “Our department has a proactive approach to taking on this epidemic that’s plaguing so many communities in our state.”

The Opioid Epidemic is very real in Cibola County, according to Sheriff Mace, “In recent months we have had huge busts on heroin in our area, and we’ve seen a rise of opioid, heroin and fentanyl.”

Sheriff Mace added, “Law enforcement has the same goal as everyone else at the end of the day, and we want to help people. Substance abuse is a problem, and we all want to do our part and protect these individuals and get them resources to help them.”

“We’ve been the top agency in the region for Drug Take Back Day, and it’s coming up in the end of October,” said Sheriff Mace of the national day to safely dispose of unused or expired medications scheduled for Saturday, October 26, 2019. “We do not want medications to fall into the wrong hands.”

For more information on the Good Samaritan Law or the upcoming National Drug Take Back Day contact Vigil at (575) 597-0346 or email:  

This news release is made possible by the Cibola-OSAP, which is a program of the Center for Health Innovation and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.