911/Good Samaritan laws are life-saving measures that enable people to make responsible decisions by shielding them from punishment when they call for medical help during an emergency relating to alcohol or other drugs overdose. Since the threat of punitive policies can often cause hesitation during confusing and stressful party situations, the existence of a 911/Good Samaritan Policy is essential to ensuring that people are able to stay alive and receive help when they are in trouble.
The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities (CHC) recently launched a new campaign designed to raise awareness among Middlesex County's youth about a potentially life-saving issue.
The 911/Good Samaritan laws in New Jersey encourages young people to call 911 for help, if they are witness to an alcohol or drug overdose situation.
These laws indicate that young people are exempt from prosecution if they call 911 for help, stay with the victim, and provide required information to the authorities responding to the incident. Unfortunately, this law will only save lives if young people know it exists.
The Coalition wants all youth to know that alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses are serious medical emergencies and should be treated as such. The campaign is designed to alert youth to the fact that when they observe a possible overdose is not the time to hesitate to call for help for fear of getting in trouble.
The '911 Good Samaritan' immunity policy, now passed in 30 states including New Jersey.
As part of this campaign to spread the word, the Coalition has produced: a poster, a flyer, and a "Save a Life" wallet card for students. Area schools have been contacted and school superintendents received (in addition to the items outlined above): an overview of the One Phone Call-One Life Saved Campaign, a fact Sheets on alcohol/drug overdose and bystander responsibilities, and some suggested in-school announcements. Administrators and educators are encouraged to post campaign materials inside County schools. Schools also have the option to provide educators with teacher in-service as a part of this campaign.
The Coalition has already provided 16,000 flyers and wallet cards to Rutgers University for distribution in dorms and to incoming freshman.