‘The Nations Strongest’ Good Samaritan Law, Goes into effect in Maine
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The Nations strongest Good Samaritan Law, went into effect Monday. Newssource 8′s Corey Bouchard spoke with a local Peer Recovery Coach to learn more about what this law means for the recovery community in the county.
Michael Paddleford - Certified Peer Recovery Coach “Since 2019, the Good Sam law first came into effect and people started to see it as a disease, they started to understand that it shouldn’t be criminalized”
A Good Samaritan Law is a law that is meant to encourage individuals overdosing or that witness an overdose to call 911 without fear of reprisal, Maine has had a good samaritan law since 2019 and Now, as of August 8th, a new version of the law that expands protections is in effect. Michael Paddleford, a certified peer recovery coach says that the expansion should help save lives of those struggling with Substance Use Disorder
Michael “By eliminating the fear of criminal charges for the people on the scene... a lot of times the people in the scenario have so much on the line for themselves that a lot of times that’s what they were thinking of first”
the 2019 Good Samaritan law only protected the person that was overdosing and the person who called 911 from criminal charges, the new law, which has been called the Strongest Good Samaritan Law in the nation, protects everyone who is at the scene of the accident from facing charges. The exception to this is any Violent Crime Charges, or charges against children.
Michael " So for years now it has been put in the hands of the people on the scene to save their friends, we have been distributing Narcan now for a few years, people are being trained because of that fear, now they can call 911, we don’t have to be the ones to save our friends, the professionals can do it and it’s definitely the better option”
Paddleford adds this will also help the recovery community get a better look at the substance use situation within the state, and even local communities
Michael” a lot of time we don’t know about the reversals that happen because they aren’t reported so this will help us collect better data to really know what is going on”
Paddleford acknowledges, not everyone in the community has the same opinion when it comes to Good Sam Laws and Recovery, but he asks people to be kind to each other. He says it’s important to look at things from another point of view.
Michael " So the stigma out there surrounding recovery and substance use disorder is really from a misunderstanding and if someone has an open mind and can look at the scenario from a different way because almost everyone nowadays knows someone that suffers from substance use disorder in some form... If you look at like any other disease, someone who suffers from substance use disorder has to use drugs and its the getting and distributing of the drugs thats illegal, its the use where theyre trying to take care of their disease, and just like diabetics need insulin, a substance use person is going to need drugs...until they find help, until they find recovery, thats just a fact of the disease "
Corey Bouchard, NS8
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