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REPORTING DRUG OVERDOSE IN AN EMERGENCY GRANTS IMMUNITY

Sometimes parties can get a little out hand, especially in college. But, loud music and damages are the least of your worries when dangerous amounts of prescription or illicit drugs are involved.

When you fear a friend may have gone too far, you can request emergency help while securing immunity from prosecution for you and your friend if you follow certain procedures.

Your protection

If you suspect that friend has overdosed, calling the authorities to report the situation can secure your immunity from minor drug charges under Pennsylvania law.

Examples of minor drug charges may include possessing a relatively small amount of a controlled substance or possessing drug paraphernalia.

This protection also grants immunity for violations of probation or parole and even applies if you call the authorities to get help for your own overdose.

Conditions for immunity

In order to gain immunity for minimal drug charges, the following must be true of your interactions with law enforcement:

  • You provided your name and location
  • Law enforcement officers were first made aware of the situation because you brought the victim to a law enforcement agency, a campus security office or a health care facility for help
  • Your report to a law enforcement officer, 911 system, a campus security officer or an emergency responder was based on a reasonable belief that the victim needed immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious injury due to drug overdose
  • You remained with the victim at the scene until the help you called arrived
  • You cooperated with law enforcement, campus security or an emergency responder during the report and at the scene

Will the friend I am helping be immune from charges?

Under the law, the person who experiences the drug overdose or potential drug overdose is also immune from minor drug charges.

Exceptions

While this legislation protects the reporter and the victim from minor charges, it does not provide immunity for serious felonies, such as drug distribution or drug delivery resulting in death or homicide charges.

This law is meant to encourage you to seek help for a friend or for yourself without worrying about the legal consequences. If you are facing drug charges, we can help. Contact our criminal defense lawyers to learn about your options.

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  1. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

  2. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

  3. I came to Lance when I was going through a horrible experience. He was patient and kind as he explained the legal process of my situation. There was a deep level of humanity in his approach combined with logic and expertise. I am very grateful for all of his help and would recommend him to anyone.

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State College, PA 16801

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