A Bill has been put forward to the House of Commons that would protect people who call 911 during drug overdose situations.
Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Liberal MP Ron McKinnon is introducing Bill C-224, Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. The Bill, if passed, would mean the person who calls emergency services to report a drug overdose cannot be charged for drug possession in relation to the incident.
“With overdoses, many people are afraid to call 911 for fear of getting charged,” said McKinnon.
“Saving lives needs to come first. A Good Samaritan drug overdose law will make a real difference in preventing these tragedies.”
Currently, the Good Samaritan Act only covers a person who provides emergency medical services or aid to an injured or unconscious person, at the immediate scene of an accident or emergency that has caused illness, injury or consciousness. The person helping cannot be held liable for any injury or death that may occur as a result of the person actions while they are attempting to provide medical support, unless that person is grossly negligent.
According to MP McKinnon, overdose rates have been rising across Canada in recent years. In 2015, 465 people died from illegal drug overdoses in B.C. alone.
“Canadians need to take care of each other, especially the vulnerable amongst us,” said McKinnon.
“This Bill means a scared young person is less likely to look the other way. Hopefully they’ll pick up the phone and save someone’s son or daughter. I hope all parliamentarians will back this bill.”
The Bill is in the early stages of moving through the House of Commons. It’s introduction and first reading in parliament was February 22nd, 2016.