As heroin use rises across the country, South Carolina has also seen a spike in deaths from overdoses. The Washington Times reports that the state has seen a 57.1 increase in heroin fatalities between 2014 and 2015. According to CDC statistics across the country, from 2013-2014 there was a 26 percent rise in deaths from heroin overdose. One reason for these deaths is that heroin can be laced with other drugs that a user may not realize, which can affect the potency of the drug, for example fentanyl, which is 20 times more powerful than heroin, can be mixed in without a user’s knowledge resulting in his or her death. There were six known overdose deaths relating to fentanyl in 2016.
WCBD News 2 reports that with these risks in mind, the South Carolina legislature is considering a Good Samaritan law to protect those reporting possible drug overdoses. This law would put legal protections in place for those calling 911, even if the person reporting the drug overdose witnessed it while participating in their own illicit drug use or other illegal activity. The law is meant to reduce fear of calling for emergency services when they are needed in a hope to reduce death as a result of opioid and heroin abuse.
The law also pertains to other illegal drug and alcohol usage, and proponents of the bill are interested in making it known on college campuses as well. While the measure has not become law, supporters of the bill are hopeful that it could pass and help reduce overdose deaths around the state.