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​​​​​Protection by Law​

Good Samaritan Law

Illinois' “Good Samaritan" law (officially called the Emergency Medical Services Access Law PA091-0678, 2012​) encourages people to seek emergency medical help when someone is overdosing. If a person calls 911 or takes someone to an emergency room for an overdose (or for follow-up care if an overdose has already been reversed with naloxone), both the person seeking emergency help and the person who overdoses are protected from being charged/prosecuted for felony possession of:

The Good Samaritan law only provides protection against being charged/prosecuted for the above possession offenses. In Illinois, if a person overdoses and dies from drugs sold or distributed by another person, the seller/distributor of those drugs can still be prosecuted for drug-induced homicide.​

The Illinois Drug Overdose Prevention Program Law (PA 096-0361, 2010)​ empowers non-medical professionals, including family, friends, and other community members, to administer naloxone to prevent a fatal opioid overdose without risking any civil or criminal liability.

The Heroin Crisis Act (PA 099-0480, 2015)​, also called “Lali’s Law,” among other things increases access to naloxone, strengthens the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (ILPMP), and provides greater access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.​

410 ILCS 710 Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction Act​

Employees, volunteers and participants in harm reduction programs cannot be charged with or prosecuted for possession of:

  • ​Needles, hypodermic syringes, or other drug consumption paraphernalia obtained from or returned, directly or indirectly, to a program established under this Act.
  • Residual amounts of a controlled substance contained in used needles, used hypodermic syringes, or other used drug consumption paraphernalia obtained from or returned, directly or indirectly, to a program established under this Act.
  • Drug adulterant testing supplies such as reagent​s, test strips, or quantification instruments obtained from or returned, directly or indirectly, to a program established under this Act.
  • Any residual amounts of controlled substances used in the course of testing the controlled substance to determine the chemical composition and potential threat of the substances obtained for consumption that are obtained from or returned, directly or indirectly, to a program established under this Act.

​Program participants should have a card like the one below to show that they are part of a harm reduction program. 

Example Street Outreach Participant Card