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Home » Uncategorized » Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses in Doña Ana County

Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses in Doña Ana County


Friday, August 31, 2018; Las Cruces, NMNo one should die of an overdose when help is a phone call away.  On this, National Overdose Awareness Day, the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition wants to remind residents of the New Mexico Good Samaritan Law which protects people calling for medical assistance, especially during an overdose.

A map of the New Mexico overdose death rate by county from 2012-2016 from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Indicator Based Information System for Public Health Data Resource (IBIS).

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

Between 2012 to 2016, Doña Ana County reported an overdose death rate of 17.7 per 100,000 population, lower than the New Mexico average of 24.6, but slightly higher than the national rate of 16.4.  In 2016, there were 497 deaths due to drug overdoses in New Mexico. “In a state- and county-wide effort to reduce this threat, the UP! Coalition has been involved with this prevention method of teaching and training community members and interested groups in the use of this nasal spray formulation to administer this life-saving medication to reverse the effect of narcotic medication, heroin, fentanyl or other opioids,” states Dr. Edward Rubin, Psy.D., Chair of the UP! Coalition.

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

Dr. Rubin also point out that, “Narcan is considered a safe and effective, evidence-based strategy for preventing opioid-related overdose deaths, has been used in emergency rooms for many years, and does no harm by itself.  Its only action is to counter the effect of narcotics.  If someone is given this medication by mistake, there are no ill effects on the individual.”

In conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health and other partners, the UP! Coalition is scheduling no cost trainings for residents on how to administer Narcan or naloxone, a life-saving antidote that combats the effects of an opioid overdose.

In April, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adam issued an advisory calling for more people to carry these opioid overdose antidotes.  Adam said, “For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life.”

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. Pharmacies and the New Mexico Department of Health offices can dispense Narcan or Naloxone upon request. Most health insurance plans cover the life-saving antidotes.

To be notified of upcoming Narcan/Naloxone trainings in Doña Ana County contact Christina Lopez-Gutierrez at

The UP! Coalition is a program of the Southwest Center for Health Innovation and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.