Kitchens that create meals from donated food and then sell the meals at extremely low prices in underserved neighborhoods. The laws provide legal immunity from drug possession prosecution both for the person who overdoses and his or her companion who calls for help. Restaurants, retail grocers and manufacturers. [i] The protection under the act does not apply to acts or omissions constituting gross negligence or intentional misconduct. 55 (March 10, 1997), available at www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/olc/opinions/1997/03/31/op-olc-v021-p0055_0.pdf (PDF, 133 KB). All fifty states and the District of Columbia have additional food donation statues that limit food donor’s liability—these currently vary widely, such as by who (i.e., donors, nonprofit organizations), and what foods and food products are covered. An example of such a law in common-law areas of Canada: a good Samaritan doctrine is a legal principlethat prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being succe…  In simple language, this means that under the DOJ’s interpretation, state laws may provide greater protection against liability, but not less. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. Thanks to SAG-AFTRA and its members for their ongoing generosity and support of the organization and our cause. Ultimately they will report on how the law is impacting overdoses and 911 calls. The act expressly covers donations by nonprofit food distributors. Donations by backyard gardeners would be covered under the broad definition of “person,” which includes individuals. Did you know that the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 (PDF, 207 KB) (42 U.S. Code § 1791) provides limited liability protection for people who make good faith donations of food and grocery products to nonprofits that feed the hungry? Other states limit the circumstances under which someone can claim protection, such as for assistance during a … Law enforcement and prosecutors’ associations initially opposed the law, thinking it was unnecessary because people are rarely arrested or prosecuted for drug possession during overdoses. Sign up now for a weekly digest of the top drug and alcohol news that impacts your work, life and community. About 15 other states also have programs to distribute naloxone, which can help a person who has stopped breathing because of an opiate drug overdose (heroin or prescription-type opiates) to breathe more normally. In 1973, two psychologists wanted to put this story to the test. Interest is growing in Good Samaritan laws aimed at saving lives by encouraging people who witness drug overdoses to call 911. Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or whom they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. Read more USDA blogs on the topic of food waste. There are even Good Samaritan laws that are put in place throughout the country. The act also provides protection against civil and criminal liability to the nonprofit organizations that receive such donated items in good faith. In the meantime, they are releasing initial results about how the law was developed and implemented and how it impacts stakeholders’ behaviors. Food donations to help those in need have been an important part of America’s safety net during the challenges posed by COVID-19. But much is not yet known about the laws’ impact on drug users, bystanders, paramedics and police. The Good Samaritan Act serves as a floor or minimum bar for states’ food donation statutes. Donations by a food service company also would be covered under the broad definition of “person,” which includes corporations, partnerships, organizations, and associations. So far, most of the implementation has focused on publicizing the website stopoverdose.org, which explains the law, distributing wallet cards at needle exchanges and putting up posters about the law at drug treatment programs. One of the challenges so far has been funding, since responsibility for implementing the law was not assigned to any state agency, Banta-Green noted. Fear of liability for any misstep can paralyze even the most helpful good Samaritan. Help us reach our #GivingTuesday goal of raising $20,000. According to the survey, 88 percent indicated that now that they were aware of the law, they would be more likely to call 911 during future overdoses. A research team at the University of Washington is studying the impact of Washington State’s Good Samaritan law, which not only provides this legal immunity, but also allows the prescribing of an opioid antidote medicine, naloxone (Narcan), to drug users and their partners. A lock ( LockA locked padlock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Each state has different terms for these laws.)  Preemptive Effect of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, 21 Op. Sixty-two percent of police surveyed said the law would not change their behavior during a future overdose because they would not have made an arrest for possession anyway, 20 percent were unsure what they would do, and 14 percent said they would be less likely to make such an arrest. The act also provides limited liability protection, both civil and criminal, for those who distribute food and groceries, such as food banks[i]. For example, the Good Samaritan Law provides people with the freedom to act without having to fear the other person might sue them. In order to receive protection under the act, a person or gleaner must donate in good faith apparently wholesome food or apparently fit grocery products to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals. Only one-third of heroin users had heard of the Good Samaritan law. Seattle paramedics reported that police are usually at the scene of overdoses, but that arrests of overdose victims or bystanders rarely occur. School food authorities and institutions of higher education, Yes, these entities are expressly included in the definition of “qualified direct donors” in the Emergency Food Assistance.