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Home » Uncategorized » NM Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses

NM Good Samaritan Law protects people seeking aid for overdoses

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).

Friday, August 31, 2018; Silver City, NMNo one should die of an overdose when help is a phone call away.  On this, National Overdose Awareness Day (August 31, 2018), the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) of Grant County wants to remind residents of the New Mexico Good Samaritan Law which protects people calling for medical assistance, especially during an overdose.

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 similar to New Mexico’s to address the overwhelming toll drug-related overdose deaths cost our nation.

Between 2012 to 2016, Grant County reported an overdose death rate of 34.4 per 100,000 population, considerably higher than New Mexico’s average of 24.6, and almost twice the national rate of 16.4. For that time period, there were 2,465 deaths due to drug overdoses in the state, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

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

Silver City Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Fell say, “Good Samaritan Law protects against civil damages that might occur by someone administering care. One thing I’ve taught over the years in CPR classes is everyone has the ability and obligation to call 911 for emergency services if someone is in danger or might need care. EMTs from either our fire department or Gila Regional Medical Center can assess the situation and offer services.”

YSAPC Coordinator, A.J. Sandoval says “Just like administering first aid or CPR, it is important to that people are protected by the Good Samaritan law. It’s important to act fast in such situations and not having to worry about liability allows for a quicker response which can save New Mexican lives.  Also, having naloxone on hand if you have an opioid prescription protects against an accidental an overdose, which could happen to anyone.”

In conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health, YSAPC is scheduling no cost trainings for residents on how to administer Narcan or Naloxone, life-saving antidotes that combat the effects of opioid overdose.

In April, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adam issued an advisory calling for more people to carry naloxone.  Adam’s 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 Grant County contact Sandoval at (575) 597-0025 or email:

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