The federal government introduced a new law on May 4 in an attempt to prevent overdose deaths in Canada.
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides legal protection for individuals who experience or witness an overdose and call 9-1-1 for help.
The new law can protect those breaching certain conditions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; such as parole, pre-trial release, probation orders, or conditional sentences.
However, the law does not apply to those with outstanding warrants and production and trafficking of controlled substances.
— Health Canada (@HealthCanada) May 4, 2017
“During an overdose, a call to 911 can often be the difference between life and death. We hope that this new law, and the legal protection it offers, will help encourage those who experience or witness an overdose to make that important call, and save a life,” said Health Minister Jane Philpott in a statement.
The overdose crisis has been a rampant issue in British Columbia, where overdoses claimed the lives of 41 people in Vancouver in the month of April alone.
On Wednesday, April 26, first responders were called to a record-setting total of 130 overdose calls.
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act was originally introduced as a private member’s bill by BC Liberal MP Ron McKinnon who represents the riding of Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam.