Good Samaritan law may protect passengers in overdose case

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KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — After three people were found passed out inside a car from heroin overdoses in Kentwood, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department says the driver is the only one facing charges.

24 Hour News 8 looked into why the other two in car weren’t charged.

Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young says it comes down to the good Samaritan law. The case is currently being evaluated for whether the law would apply.

“The driver was arrested for operating under the influence of a controlled substance the entire heroin case was sent to our (Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team) to be investigated for potential charges,” Young said.

Young says the law protects people in cases like the one on Wednesday.

“There’s a new good Samaritan law that allows people to call for help when there’s an overdose situation,” Young said.

But 24 Hour News 8 asked how does the law apply in this case if the two were also unresponsive and unable to call 911.

“Even though this group of people did not actually call us we don’t know it’s implied,” Young said.

Young says these questions are for the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to decide and charges could change after the case is reviewed.

But this also calls into question whether the good Samaritan law is decriminalizing heroin and prescription drug abuse and letting people walk free who are abusing drugs.

“I probably can’t answer that question because I don’t know what propelled them to use. What circumstances are they long term users, are they even aware of the laws right? Not everybody is, not everybody knows that you’re not going to get in trouble if you call,” Young said.

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