Letter: A life-saving call
We have seen too many deaths resulting from overdoses of drugs and/or alcohol in our society. The most recent overdose deaths in our small community have left a big impact on the deceased’s families and friends. It is a sad occurrence and one that can be prevented in many cases.
The Colorado Legislature has created immunity for persons who suffer or report an emergency drug or alcohol overdose. Section 18-1-711 C.R.S., 2013 gives immunity from criminal prosecution on any event that arises from the same course of events to those who report, in good faith, an emergency drug or alcohol overdose to a law enforcement officer, 911 operator or a medical provider.
The requirements are simple. Call 911, remain at the scene of the event until someone arrives, identify yourself and cooperate with the authorities. This immunity also extends to the person who suffers from the overdose. As long as you are trying to get medical attention to the person who overdosed you are protected from prosecution under this statute. It is important that you tell the authority what drugs or how much alcohol the person has taken.
This immunity applies to possession or use of a controlled substance, paraphernalia, certain marijuana offenses and underage possession of alcohol.
This is your safe haven protection. I encourage you to immediately report when you suspect that an overdose has occurred or might be occurring even if you are using with them. Time is critical when someone has consumed a lethal dose of drugs or alcohol. You will wish you had called if you stand by and the person dies. Tell your family and friends about this provision. It may save someone’s life.
Sherry A. Caloia
District Attorney, Ninth Judicial District