May 04, 2017
By Michael Kramer
A new federal law is targeted at reducing deaths from opioid and other drug overdoses in Canada.
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act was introduced as a private member’s bill last year by Liberal backbencher Ron McKinnon – and received royal assent today.
It provides immunity from simple possession charges – for anyone calling 9-1-1 to report an overdose.
McKinnon says he took action after an epidemic of opioid overdoses in his home province of B-C -mas well as the rising number of deaths in Alberta and other provinces.
He says there have been cases where people have been afraid to call police or an ambulance for help when someone is having an overdose – because they’re afraid they’ll be charged with drug possession.
Health Canada says the law also provides an exemption from charges for people who are on a probation order – serving a conditional sentence – or who are on parole.