A substance abuse prevention group in Oswego County is launching a campaign to raise awareness about New York’s Good Samaritan Law.
Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes made the announcement at the annual SAFE Fair on Sunday afternoon.
He says if someone calls 911 to help a friend who is overdosing, the law prevents police or prosecutors from charging the caller when drugs are found at the scene.
“Last year, we lost 22 members of our community to overdose deaths, either due to heroin or prescription pills,” Oakes says. “It’s hard to know whether any of those people could have called 911 and just didn’t, because they were afraid of arrest or prosecution.”
The group behind the good samaritan law campaign will be sharing posters all over the county in the coming weeks.
The posters were also unveiled at the SAFE Fair, which offers families a chance to learn about substance abuse prevention, treatment and healthy alternatives.
The campaign in Oswego County comes just as a new Siena College poll shows many New Yorkers aren’t being educated about the risks of opioid abuse or addiction.
24 percent of the people polled said they were prescribed opioids within the past two years.
About half of them say they never heard about the risks from a doctor’s office and 58 percent say the pharmacist filling their prescription did not warn them.
40 percent of people polled kept their unused prescription pills, even after treatment ended.
18 percent said they are close to someone who has pursued treatment for opioid abuse.
More than 30 percent believe a lack of space at treatment centers is a barrier to recovery.