Opiod Deaths and State Law

There were 71,000 fatal drug overdoses in the US in 2014. Roughly 2/3 of these (47,000 deaths) involved opiods, rather than heroin, cocaine or other substances. To put that in perspective, there were 13,472 murders in the US in that year.(2) Yes, opiod addiction is a big deal.

Opiod overdose requires immediate treatment. Those overdosing are usually not alone, but companions may be afraid to call 911 for fear of arrest and prosecution. Some states, primarily in the Northeast, have passed “Good Samaritan” laws exempting callers from prosecution, but the level of protection provided by these laws varies from state to state. Vermont provides expansive protection. Ohio has limited protection, excludes those on parole from being Good Samaritans, and provides loopholes that can enable other prosecutorial action.

Here’s another drug war we can lose.

Ad hoc, fragmented, uncoordinated state laws accomplish nothing expect filling for-profit prisons and increasing taxes. Punishment for addiction makes little sense. Rehabilitation is nonexistent.


  1. Steven H. Linder, MD; Kathryn K. Hodge, MD; Evan M. Baker, PharmD; Lisa C. Huang, MLS, “Opioid Overdoses: Prosecution Risk and the Need for Naloxone,” Medscape, 26 July 2017. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/883080?src=wnl_mdplsnews_170728_mscpedit_wir&uac=153634BV&impID=1399244&faf=1
  2. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-12



  1. I feel wrong liking this inexcusable tragedy but I agree with you people need to be aware of this tragedy. All lives are important and no one should ever feel such despair to die from an overdose or be addicted to pain medication to exist.


    • I thought your post was very interesting. There are doctors who push drugs because they don’t know better, and there are docs who push drugs for profit. The latter have a tendency to get arrested, but not fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.