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Immunity from drug charges when you report an overdose

Under the laws in Florida, there are certain events that require the police to overlook drug possession -- even when the drug evidence is clearly available.

How is this possible?

As a response to the rapidly-evolving epidemic of drug overdoses both nationally and within Florida itself, the Florida government passed several pieces of overdose prevention legislation, including the 911 Good Samaritan Act in 2012.

If you are present while someone overdoses on a drug, you can call for an ambulance or take the overdose victim to a hospital without fear that you'll be prosecuted for drug possession. The overdose victim is also protected from prosecution.

The idea is to encourage people to do several things:

  • Seek help for their friends or relatives who are overdosing
  • Fully co-operate with emergency services by providing information (names, addresses) that will help an ambulance reach the victim in a timely fashion
  • Honestly tell the medical professionals treating the overdose victim what drugs were taken, in what quantities
  • Reveal any information they may know about the victim or the victim's medical history to emergency responders

The treatment for an overdose can vary depending on what type of drug was ingested. Consequently, there are situations where medical professionals may need to test any remaining drugs in your possession in order to properly identify them. This is particularly true if the overdose victim seems to be having an unusual reaction to whatever he or she thought the drug was supposed to be.

You do need to understand, however, that your immunity from prosecution is very limited. It only applies to possession charges where the evidence was obtained by authorities due to a good faith attempt to obtain help for a possible overdose. If the police find evidence of controlled substances through some other method that's unrelated, you can still be prosecuted.

If you are charged with drug possession after seeking help for an overdose victim, an attorney can help you with your defense strategy. Your rights deserve to be protected.

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