Ethics Quiz: Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Laws

heroinoverdoseI know how this one will break down, but it’s an interesting issue nonetheless. And it doesn’t involve Hillary, Donald Trump of Bill Cosby!

Many states have addressed drug-related deaths by allowing junkies using illegal drugs to call 911 for a fellow shooter or snorter in life-threatening distress and be immune from prosecution.   New Mexico passed a “Good Samaritan law” in 2007 that granted limited immunity from prosecution on simple possession charges for people who used 911 to report a drug overdose going on in front of them. The Drug Policy Alliance reports that 28 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws differing in exact provisions but providing limited freedom from prosecution in exchange for saving lives.

There is an explosion of heroin use nationwide, and therefore heroin deaths, right now. (The government abandoning its vital statements via law that drug use is wrong has a lot to do with causing this, but that is for another day.) As always, the first proposals to address a drug crisis involve loosening enforcement. Slate writes,

“In the end, of course, it doesn’t much matter how or why states pass these laws, as long as they pass them. A University of Washington study evaluating the initial results of Washington state’s Good Samaritan policy found in a survey that drug users who were aware of the law were 88 percent more likely to call 911 in the event of an overdose than before. “Despite lingering concerns about possible negative consequences of the new law, such as prosecutions being impeded, no evidence of negative consequences has been found to date,” the study concluded. Good Samaritan laws are humane and sensible. There are no compelling reasons to oppose them.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Are there really “no compelling” ethical reasons to oppose such laws?

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The Worst Sting Of All

Not funny, not clever, not necessary. Just cruel.

Not funny, not clever, not necessary. Just cruel.

The combination of the 24-hour cable news glut and the internet causes some significant  distortions in public perception. The public periodically thinks that sharks are mounting an organized assault on humanity, for example, which is bad for sharks. The public believes that gun violence is suddenly worse than ever in the U.S., when it is in fact dropping dramatically, which is good for hysteria-based gun control efforts.  It believes that storms like the recent tornadoes are more frequent and more deadly than they have ever been, leading ignorant news reporters and Congressmen to link the deaths to global warming. This good for Al Gore. In my case, stories like this one, which I would have blissfully been unaware of earlier in my life, come across by computer screen every day, leading me to contemplate moving to Pago Pago, or Mars out of despair for the decline of fairness and intelligence in the human race. I will steady myself and presume that without more detailed evidence, it is foolish to conclude the police and the schools are not, in fact, in league with Satan.

Only some of them are.

In Temecula, California, an undercover cop masquerading as a student orchestrated a drug bust in a Temecula Valley Unified School District high school by befriending and manipulating an autistic boy into obtaining small amounts of marijuana. You can read the whole awful tale here (the boy’s family is suing). Continue reading

And the Frontrunner for the 2011 “Eliot Spitzer Award for Outrageous Hypocrisy” is….

Looks like this year's "Spitzie" is already in the bag!

Clark County (Las Vegas) Deputy District Attorney David Schubert!

From the Las Vegas Sun:

“Metro Police said chief Clark County Deputy District Attorney David Schubert was arrested in connection with drug charges Saturday night. Police spokesman Jay Rivera said Schubert was charged with possession of cocaine and booked into the Clark County Detention Center…
Police planned to release more information about Schubert’s arrest on Monday, Rivera said.

“Schubert recently prosecuted the high-profile drug cases involving Paris Hilton and pop singer Bruno Mars.”

Now THAT’s hypocrisy!