New law would provide immunity from simple possession charges for those who call 911 in the case of an overdose
The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, announced today that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act received Royal Assent and became law. The Act provides an exemption from charges of simple possession of a controlled substance as well as from charges concerning a pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole violations related to simple possession for people who call 911 for themselves or another person suffering an overdose, as well as anyone who is at the scene when emergency help arrives.
The Act was originally introduced as a Private Member's Bill by MP Ron McKinnon, the original Bill sponsor and Member of Parliament for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam.
Drug addiction is an illness that requires care and compassion like any other health condition. The Government of Canada recognizes the dedication of first responders as key players on the front line in addressing the opioid crisis. Over the past year, the federal government has been building a new approach to drug policy by working collaboratively with communities, provinces, territories and key stakeholders, including addiction experts, the medical community, first responders, Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations, as well as Canadians with lived experience.
The Government of Canada is committed to implementing a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based response to Canada's opioid crisis. For more information on what the Government of Canada is doing to combat the opioid crisis, please visit Canada.ca/opioids.
Quotes"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."The Honourable Jane PhilpottMinister of Health
"Protecting the lives of Canadians is our most important priority. This law ensures that you can call for help when someone is having a drug overdose and stay to provide them support until emergency responders arrive with guaranteed immunity from charges for simple possession of illegal drugs as well as certain related charges." Ralph GoodaleMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Associated LinksGood Samaritan Drug Overdose ActBackgrounder - The New Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy Opioid Action PlanJoint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis
SOURCE Health Canada
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