In an effort to help minimize the ever-increasing number of deaths from drug overdoses, many states, including Iowa, have passed some type of Good Samaritan law. These laws provide immunity from criminal consequences in certain circumstances if a person seeks medical help for someone (including themselves) who’s suffering a drug overdose.
Often these laws come about only after someone suffered a fatal drug overdose after acquaintances – and even friends or family members – ran off and left them because they feared being arrested for their own drug use.
Conditions of the law
Iowa’s Good Samaritan law is called “Persons seeking medical assistance for drug-related overdose.” It typically protects those who seek medical aid from prosecution as long as they meet the following conditions:
- They are the first ones to seek this assistance for the overdose victim.
- They provide their contact information when they report the overdose.
- They remain on the scene until help arrives.
- They cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel.
It’s important to note that the law only applies if the person they sought help for was actually suffering a drug overdose, or at least a reasonable person would have believed they were suffering one. The law doesn’t apply if someone reported an overdose while police were already conducting a search or arrest. It also doesn’t protect people from arrest for non-related crimes.
If you believe that you or a loved one was wrongfully arrested and charged with a drug-related crime after reporting a suspected overdose, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.