Maine’s Good Samaritan Law

On May 23, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed LD 329, An Act To Exempt from Criminal Liability Persons Reporting a Drug-related Medical Emergency (known as the Good Samaritan Bill), into law. The bill came to her desk with unanimous support from the Maine Legislature.

What is the Good Samaritan Law?

Maine’s Good Samaritan Law prevents a person from being arrested or prosecuted for certain violations if the grounds for that arrest or prosecution result from the person experiencing a drug-related overdose or seeking medical assistance for someone else who is.

If you or someone you are with is experiencing a drug overdose , CALL 9-1-1 and administer naloxone. (Don’t have naloxone? Learn where to find it so you can always have it on hand.)

Who does it protect?

  • A person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for a person experiencing a drug-related overdose
  • A person who is experiencing an overdose and needs medical assistance

What do the protections cover?

Maine’s Good Samaritan Law protects you from arrest or prosecution for violating laws prohibiting:

  • Possession of scheduled drugs
  • Acquiring drugs by deception
  • Possession of hypodermic apparatuses
  • Use of drug paraphernalia
  • Violation of probation

It is designed to make it easier to do the right thing – to save a person’s life – without worrying that you might ruin your own life (or theirs) in the process.  Read the full law here.

Why are laws like this important?

Because they have been proven to save lives.

Maine is one of 47 other states and the District of Columbia that have enacted some form of a Good Samaritan or 911 drug immunity law. A 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found a nationwide pattern of lower of lower opioid-related overdose death rates among states that have enacted Good Samaritan laws, both compared to death rates prior to a law’s enactment and death rates in states without such laws. Studies also found that people are more likely to call 911 if they are aware of the laws.

You can download an overview of the study here or read the full study here.