Alcohol and Drug Medical Emergencies—Be an Active Bystander!
An alcohol or drug overdose is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Do you know what to do?
Know the Signs
If a person has been drinking and they exhibit ANY of these signs, they may be experiencing an alcohol or drug medical emergency:
- Passed out
- Vomiting excessively
- Irregular breathing
The Medical Amnesty Law was enacted with the intent to save lives by increasing timely medical attention for those experiencing an alcohol or other drug-related medical emergency by providing limited immunity from prosecution for those seeking help. The Medical Amnesty Law protects you and the person who needs help from being cited for underage drinking, so call 911 and save a life!
The Medical Amnesty Law (RCW 69.50.315) states:
(1) A person acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug-related overdose shall not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance pursuant to RCW 69.50.4013, or penalized under RCW 69.50.4014, if the evidence for the charge of possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance.
(2) A person who experiences a drug-related overdose and is in need of medical assistance shall not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance pursuant to RCW 69.50.4013, or penalized under RCW 69.50.4014, if the evidence for the charge of possession of a controlled substance was obtained as a result of the overdose and the need for medical assistance.
(3) The protection in this section from prosecution for possession crimes under RCW 69.50.4013 shall not be grounds for suppression of evidence in other criminal charges.
For more information, visit https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=69.50.315
Stay and Help
Place the person in the recovery position by rolling them on their side. Don’t give them food or water, as this may block their airway. Stay with them until help arrives.
Below is a short video demonstrating the recovery position: