Fentanyl Good Samaritan Legislation Signed Into Law

Pills & drugs, healthcare photo. Free public domain CC0 image.

By the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – Governor Newsom signed into law SB 250, which expands California’s 911 Good Samaritan Law (GSL) to include self-reporting of fentanyl poisonings and opioid overdoses to law enforcement, emergency services, and public health departments.

The bill was authored by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and includes provisions to allow for medical devices such as fentanyl testing strips or health-monitoring devices such as smart watches during the process of reporting. It extends immunity not only for individuals reporting opioid-related overdoses, but also for individuals reporting substances that test positive for fentanyl.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom and my legislative colleagues for recognizing the need to enhance our Good Samaritan Law to keep up with today’s environment,” said Senator Umberg.

“The scourge of synthetic opioids like fentanyl is unlike anything we have ever seen,” he continued.  “It’s imperative that every Californian is both made aware of this important provision, and protected by it, as conditions change.”

California’s current version of the GSL protects against prosecution those who call 9-1-1 during an overdose.  However, it does not include similar provisions for those who utilize fentanyl testing strips, test their drugs, find them to be contaminated, and pursue reporting their product to law enforcement or public health departments.

“As lawmakers, we have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect lives in California,” said Senator Umberg.  “We have lost more people to opioid overdose in the last year alone than the number of U.S. military personnel killed during the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined – we must be taking every possible action to turn this epidemic around.”

After receiving bi-partisan support throughout the legislative process, SB 250 was signed into law on July 21 as Chapter 106 of the Statutes of 2023. Its provisions will take effect on January 1, 2024.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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