In response to the drug poisoning crisis in Canada and the US, some jurisdictions have enacted drug-related Good Samaritan laws (GSLs) to encourage observers of acute poisoning events to call emergency medical services (EMS) during times of overdose. To date, the effectiveness of GSLs are indeterminate. This thesis undertook a literature review on the effectiveness of GSLs, evaluated the working knowledge of a GSL, and the impact of this law among participants of three large prospective cohort studies of community-recruited people who use illicit drugs (PWUD) in Vancouver, a full year after the enactment of a GSL in Canada. Overall, the literature review demonstrated mixed evidence with regard to the effectiveness of GSLs. Only about a third of our sample had accurate knowledge of the GSL and the GSL did not appear to have changed EMS-calling rates. Additional measures are urgently needed to support the aims of GSLs.
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Thesis advisor: Hayashi, Kanna
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