Senator Chap Petersen’s (D-Fairfax) bill to protect Good Samaritans who call 911 to report drug overdoses has passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee in a unanimous vote.
Petersen’s legislation, SB 892, would provide an affirmative defense for individuals who take responsible measures to report an overdose, remain at the scene of the overdose until emergency services arrive, and identify themselves to the responding officer.
The legislation does not protect those who commit acts of violence, felonies, or distribute drugs.
SB 892 was brought to Senator Petersen’s attention by Professor Gerard Lawson of Virginia Tech and was supported in Committee by a coalition of organizations and individuals impacted by drug overdoses.
Statement of Senator Petersen: “‘Good Samaritans’ who call 911 to report a drug overdose should have legal protections. I personally believe that this bill, if enacted, will save lives. I’m glad the Senate Courts of Justice Committee supports this bill.”
Statement of Professor Gerard Lawson: “We are thrilled that the Senate Courts of Justice Committee saw the wisdom in this bill, and voted overwhelmingly to report it on to the full Senate. We are one step closer to a common sense law to save lives in Virginia. “