FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2018
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GUILLEN CONTINUES TO LEAD GOOD SAMARITAN LAW
Public Health Committee Reviews Impact Of Overdose Reporting Laws
AUSTIN - As the author of Texas' first successful bill aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) is encouraged that the Public Health Committee will be looking at overdose reporting laws known as "Good Samaritan" laws and looks forward to working with them during the upcoming legislative session.
“The opioid epidemic is a national problem but has yet to receive a national solution," remarked Guillen. "A Good Samaritan law is a step in the right direction towards a solution and towards saving lives."
"Good Samaritan" laws provide legal protection from prosecution for someone who seeks medical assistance for a drug related overdose. Drug overdose deaths in Texas have been on the rise, especially among opioid users. Usually these deaths occur in the presence of others engaging in the use of narcotics. Under current Texas law, those who call emergency medical services are not protected from prosecution. The result is those in the best position to seek emergency care are often discouraged from calling for help.
Guillen understands that "Good Samaritan" laws save lives by removing the fear of conviction over drug use. During the 82nd Session, the Texas Legislature enacted a "Good Samaritan" law for people under 21 during a possible alcohol overdose. Then in 2015 and 2017, Guillen authored legislation which extended those protections to individuals facing a possible drug overdose. Though the bill passed through the legislature in 2015, unfortunately the bill was vetoed by the Governor. Undeterred, Guillen will continue to fight for this law and the countless Texans facing opioid addiction.
“Arresting and charging the people who are trying to save a life is counterintuitive,” said Guillen. “This causes a chilling effect on the reporting of drug overdoses.”
Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at ryanguillen.com, facebook.com/representative.guillen, and twitter.com/ryanguillen