From 2008 statistics through the Center for Disease Control, overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. Colorado residents accounted for 14.6 deaths by drug overdose per 100,000 people. This data was monumental in that it marked the first time drug overdoses overtook motor vehicle accidents in the ranking for overall cause of death in America. An important part of this data is that many of these overdoses are caused by prescription drugs such as oxycontin and benzodiazepines. Sometimes an overdose is in the context of abuse, but often it occurs from elderly patients unaware of the dangers in their medicine cabinets. New policies are being implemented to prevent the mortality of overdoses and to encourage medical care.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has helped bring a new law to Colorado which protects those who call emergency services for a friend or relative who had an overdose and is at risk for death. This is called the 911 Good Samaritan Law. Often, people who have been using drugs with that person are fearful of calling 911 because they don’t want to be charged for possession.
This law is another step in encouraging health care and effective addiction treatment over punitive measures for drug abuse and addiction.