New York State's 911 Good Samaritan Law Protects YOU

The New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law allows people to call 911 without fear of arrest if they are having a drug or alcohol overdose that requires emergency medical care or if they witness someone overdosing.

The following are signs of an overdose. Call 911 if the person:

  • Is passed out and cannot be woken up;
  • Is not breathing, breathing very slowly, or making gurgling sounds;
  • Has lips that are blue or grayish color.

Why should you care about the 911 Good Samaritan Law?

  • The law empowers you to save a person's life.
  • The law encourages anyone to call 911 when they see or experience a drug or alcohol overdose.

Who is protected by the 911 Good Samaritan Law?

  • Everyone - regardless of age - who seeks medical help for themselves or someone else during an overdose.
  • The person who has overdosed.
The law protects YOU from charges and prosecutions for: The law DOES NOT protect you from the following:
  • Possessing controlled substances up to and including A2 felony offenses (anything under 8 ounces);
  • Possessing alcohol, where underage drinking is involved;
  • Possessing marijuana (any quantity);
  • Possessing drug paraphernalia; and
  • Sharing drugs.
  • A1 felony possession of a controlled substance (8 ounces or more);
  • Sale or intent to sell controlled substances;
  • Open warrants for your arrest; and
  • Violation of probation or parole.

What if I am accused of selling drugs?

  • Calling 911 can be used in your defense when the charge is less than an A2 felony - as long as you don't have a prior conviction for an A1, A2 or B drug felony sales or attempted sales offense.
  • Calling 911 can be a factor in reducing the length of a prison sentence for A1 and A2 felony convictions.

What if I am under the age of 21 years? Will this law protect me?

Yes. Nothing should stop you from calling 911 in a life-or-death situation.

For more information or questions about the NYS 911 Good Samaritan Law call 1-800-692-8528 or email

Poster & Palm Cards Ordering Materials
Posters and materials that highlight the 911 Good Samaritan Law and instructions on how to respond to an overdose:

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