California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Monday signed legislation that prevents residents from being arrested for minor drug charges if they report an overdose.


“This is a great victory for parents. None of us want our kids overdosing on drugs, but as I told the legislature, I’d rather have my kid around to yell at than attend a funeral,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, who introduced the bill. “The young friends of those who overdose shouldn’t hesitate to seek help because they fear arrest. With the Governor’s signature, they won’t have to.”

California’s 911 Good Samaritan law provides legal protection for any person who experiences a drug overdose and seeks medical assistance. The same legal protections are provided to those who seek medical assistance for another person experiencing a drug-related overdose.

Those who sell drugs and those who operate a vehicle while under the influence are not protected under the new law.

“This is an incredibly special day for the thousands of California family members who worked so hard and for so long to pass this life-saving bill,” Meghan Ralston, harm reduction manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said. “This is just a small first step in reducing the number of fatal overdoses in California, but it’s a deeply important one.”

California is the tenth state to adopt a so-called "good samaritan" overdose law.

[Drug abuse via Shutterstock]