Sunday, December 3, 2017

Plymouth County Outreach Reminds Residents of Good Samaritan Law

Plymouth County Outreach Reminds Residents of Good Samaritan Law

PCO was Recently Referenced on a National Level in a Report by Drug-Free Communities

Click here to view a video from police chiefs throughout Plymouth County.

This holiday season, Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) and police chiefs throughout Plymouth County are reminding citizens of the state's Good Samaritan Law.

“With many family members and friends getting together and coming home for the holidays, we want to again make citizens aware of this crucial tool that will help save lives,” East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen said. “Losing anyone to a drug overdose is heartbreaking. Because this is supposed to be such a special time of year, some of the saddest cases we’ve dealt with are the ones that occur during the holidays."

The Good Samaritan Law (M.G.L. 94C §34A) states that a person experiencing a drug-related overdose (or someone with the overdosing party) who seeks medical assistance will not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, the law allows for a person to possess, administer and receive a prescription for the overdose-reversing drug Narcan.

It should be noted, the law does not prevent anyone from being criminally charged with trafficking, distribution or possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

"While the holidays are a great time of year, it can be a time when some people are at their most vulnerable. If you are with someone who has overdosed, we urge you to call 911 to get that person help immediately," said Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri. "Even if you have Narcan, overdose victims need professional medical assistance. Calling for help can and does save lives."

Plymouth County Outreach is an opioid prevention and recovery coalition made up of 27 municipal police departments in Plymouth County, along with the Bridgewater State University Police.

PCO has partnered with healthcare, treatment and recovery agencies, along with local coalitions, faith-based organizations and four of the five hospitals in the county, to help overcome the opioid epidemic in Plymouth County.

Program initiatives such as drop-in centers, Narcan training, proactive outreach efforts, in-person overdose follow-up visits and real-time overdose data collection, were recently recognized on a national level.

As part of the Brockton Area Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative, the program was referenced as a key strategy at the local level in the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program National Evaluation end-of-year report. The report was released in September by the Executive Office of the President and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"While no one strategy is likely to fully address opioids across communities, several promising practices from a DFC coalition in Massachusetts provide further evidence of the central role that DFC coalitions can play," the report reads. "These practices are innovative and result from the cross-sector collaboration that is at the core of the DFC program."

"Being recognized on a national level for the work we have been doing right here in Plymouth County shows that our combined efforts can make a difference in battling this epidemic," Chief Allen said. "Our newly formed advisory group, made up of 12 chiefs in the county, will only serve to strengthen our approach."

The PCO Administrative Advisory Board consists of:

Abington Chief David Majenski
Brockton Chief John Crowley and Lt. Richard Linehan
Carver Chief Marc Duphily
East Bridgewater Chief Scott Allen
Hanover Chief Walter Sweeney
Hingham Chief Glenn Olsson
Middleboro Chief Joseph Perkins
Pembroke Chief Richard Wall
Plymouth Chief Michael Botieri
Rockland Chief John Lewelyn
Scituate Chief Michael Stewart
Wareham Chief Kevin Walsh

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