Understanding Good Samaritan Laws and immunity from liability
Several laws in Washington State allow anyone to possess and administer naloxone without fear of prosecution.
- As long as you act in good faith, you will have immunity from liability for any unintentional harm you might cause when helping during an overdose. Examples of ways you might help include administering chest-compression CPR or giving someone naloxone. (State laws that cover this immunity include RCW 4.24.300 and RCW 69.41.095.)
- Neither you nor the person having the overdose will be legally charged for possessing or using drugs, underage drinking, or having drug paraphernalia present when you call 911 and when EMS arrives. (RCW 69.50.315)
The Good Samaritan Law does not protect you from being arrested for:
- Outstanding warrants.
- Probation or parole violations.
- Drug dealing.
- Crimes other than drug possession.
Life insurance companies can’t deny coverage or charge you more because you have naloxone.
On August 2, 2022, the State of Washington Office of Insurance Commissioner issued a memo clarifying that “In the case of opioid reversal medication [naloxone], neither coverage nor underwriting decisions can legitimately be based” on whether someone has a prescription for naloxone. “Therefore, decisions to deny coverage or charge higher premiums based solely on the presence of such a prescription would violate RCW 48.18.480 and 48.30.300.”