NNESAM Supports Expansion of Good Samaritan Protections in Maine
On March 2nd, the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine (NNESAM) sent a letter to the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety expressing support for LD 1862. This legislation would extend the state’s existing Good Samaritan protections to all individuals present at the scene of an overdose, barring any violent crimes.
In the letter, NNESAM cited statistics to capture the scale of the overdose crisis in Maine. NNESAM stressed how evidence-based harm reduction strategies—such as comprehensive Good Samaritan protections-- are essential to strengthen the state’s response to this crisis. The existing Good Samaritan law provides legal immunity to those who seek medical assistance for an overdose, as well as partial immunity to the individual overdosing themselves. However, other bystanders present at scene are not granted the same immunity, potentially discouraging their assistance in such a desperate situation. NNESAM praised how LD 1862 addresses this limitation by expanding Good Samaritan protections to all individuals present at the scene of an overdose, including those with parole or condition of release violations. This critical addition to the law would reduce the hesitancy of responding to an overdose, increasing the likelihood that additional lives will be saved in the long run.