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Can you go to jail for overdosing in Louisiana?

If you want to know whether you can go to jail for overdosing in Louisiana, you must read this article. 

The latest CDC data reports that during the pandemic 96,000 people lost their lives from drug overdoses in the United States. Louisiana reported a record high of drug overdose deaths in 2020; this is 56% more than 2019 and the highest among all states in the US. If you worry that an opioid overdose can be fatal for someone (or yourself), you may want to call 911 or seek medical care. However, it may also mean that one or more people at the scene of overdose are in possession of drugs. Since possession of Schedule I narcotic drugs is illegal in Louisiana, will the person overdosing or the person try to help the overdosed person go to jail? 

Let’s unpack it point by point and learn whether you can go to jail for overdosing in Louisiana. In addition, feel free to read this post and learn if you can be charged with possession if you overdose in Louisiana.

What is drug overdose?

Drug overdose can occur upon taking in illicit drugs, prescription medicine, or any other substance in higher quantities than the body can tolerate. The source of the majority of drug overdose deaths is illegally obtained opioids like heroin or synthetic fentanyl. Given the high number of people dying from opioid overdose, it is wise to have knowledge of whether the overdosed person or their helper can get prosecuted if they seek emergency medical care. 

How can medical care help someone who has an opioid overdose?

Administration of naloxone can help to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in the body. Emergency medical providers and trained first responders can use naloxone through injection or nasal spray to prevent overdose death. However, often people having an opioid overdose do not get this medical care.

If there is medicine for opioid overdose, why do so many people die?

Although naloxone can help someone overdosing from opioids, people still die because they are afraid that the police will charge them if they call 911 or go to emergency medical care. Possession of Schedule I substances like opioids can incur fines and even prison times. So, this fear of going to jail often prevents people from getting medical care for overdosing.

Is there any way to prevent death from overdosing without going to jail?

Yes! Thankfully, more and more states are making laws so that people can save their lives from opioid overdose deaths without fear of police. In Louisiana, if you are overdosing, you can get immunity for getting penalized for possession of drugs. If you are caught with drugs while seeking medical care for an overdose, you will not be prosecuted.

What if you want to help someone who appears to be overdosing?

Often when someone who is overdosing is not in a state to call for emergency help. However, people who witness the overdose of another person, often do not call 911 to get help during an overdose because they fear the police and legal consequences. In Louisiana, Act 192 of the 2015 Regular Legislative Sessions states that anyone will be immune from criminal or civil charges if they are “acting in good faith” to help a person showing reasonable signs of an opioid-related drug overdose. However, the immunity is not applicable for someone who provided the drug that caused the adverse effects of the overdose. 

This Act, along with the Good Samaritan laws, protect the people if they summon authorities to help someone who overdosed. This law is meant to encourage bystanders to help if they see someone is at risk of death from overdose. They are also required to stay at the scene of overdose until help comes.

In conclusion, can someone go to jail for overdosing on opioids in Louisiana?

To make it clear, you will not be charged if the evidence of your possession of illegal opioids is discovered because you called the police for seeking help for overdosing. Overdosing is definitely an emergency where medical support can save lives. The laws in Louisiana generally provide immunity from legal charges, jail, or prison time when medical care is sought during an incident when a person is experiencing an opiate-related overdose. 

If you need help with any drug charges or questions related to drug overdose, Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney can help. He is a top drug charge lawyer in Louisiana and can answer your question and help you find the best solution through proper representation. If you are facing drug charges of any type, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney on this page here.

We hope you now know the answer to your question about whether someone can go to jail for overdosing in Louisiana and wish you all the best.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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