St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar discusses Missouri’s Good Samaritan law
Missouri’s Good Samaritan Law (RSMO 195.205, effective August, 2017)
This law is designed to save lives by encouraging people to seek emergency medical help if they experience or witnesses a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency. Under this law, the person who seeks medical help and the person experiencing the medical emergency will be protected from minor drug and alcohol violations.
This law provides immunity from:
- Possession of a controlled substance (RSMO 579.015)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia (RSMO 579.074)
- Possession of an imitation controlled substance (RSMO 579.078)
- Keeping or maintaining a public nuisance (RSMO 579.105)
- Sale of alcohol to a minor (RSMO 311.310)
- Possession of an altered ID (RSMO 311.320)
- Purchase or possession of alcohol by a minor (RSMO 311.325)
- Violation of a restraining order
- Violation of probation or parole
To receive the protections under this statute, a person must actively seek medical assistance for an overdose or other medical emergency (i.e., call 911, or otherwise seek help). Under this law, the person who seeks assistance and the person who experiences the overdose or medical emergency may not be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, or have their property subject to civil asset forfeiture under any of these statutes.
This limited immunity does not provide immunity from any other crimes, including distribution of a controlled substance, manufacturing of drugs, active warrants, or any other crime.
This law also requires police officers who respond to a drug or alcohol overdose to provide appropriate treatment-related resources. MO-HOPE has created 2 versions of printable resource cards meeting these requirements:
- Eastern Region of Missouri Resource Cards
- Eastern Region of Missouri with Good Samaritan Law Information Resource Cards
- Statewide Resource Cards
Statewide Naloxone Dispensing by Standing Order (RSMO 195.206, effective August 2017)
Previously, licensed pharmacists were only authorized to dispense naloxone without a prescription under a physician protocol. Effective August 28, 2017, Missouri licensed pharmacists have two options for dispensing naloxone without a prescription:
- Dispensing under protocol with a Missouri licensed physician, OR
- Dispensing under a statewide standing order issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Under this law, licensed pharmacists who dispense naloxone and the physician issuing the statewide standing order are protected from any criminal or civil liability or professional disciplinary action for any outcome related to the administration of naloxone.
Notably, the statewide standing order allows individuals to purchase naloxone from a pharmacy without an outside prescription. Though individual store protocols may differ, under the standing order, anyone requesting naloxone is eligible to purchase it and is not required to provide private identity or health information
Dr. Randall Williams, M.D., Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), has signed the statewide order. “Naloxone is an important tool in combatting the opioid crisis that we see gripping Missouri and the nation,” said Dr. Williams, “Pharmacists can play an important role in educating patients and saving lives.”
Medication Assisted Treatment in Treatment, Veteran, and Family Court Systems (RSMO 478.004 and 487.200, effective August 2017)
Medical treatment in combination with behavioral therapy has been found to be the most effective treatment model for Opioid Use Disorder. Previously, some court systems prohibited participants from using medicines for addiction treatment (e.g., buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone). The new statutes enacted on August 28th, 2017, protect the rights of participants in Treatment Court, Veterans Court, and Family Court systems to receive all forms of medication for addiction treatment under the care of a Missouri licensed physician or other authorized prescriber. Judges and other officers of the court are not permitted to mandate medication tapering or discontinuation from program participants as a condition of participation or completion.
Statute Section 190.255.1, HB 2040, enacted August 28th, 2014.
Relevant topics covered by this bill:
– Distribution to first responders
– First Responder administration immunity
House Bill No. 1568. Enacted August 28, 2016.
Relevant topics covered by this bill:
– Pharmacy availability (without a prescription)
– Pharmacist criminal and civil immunity
– Criminal and civil immunity for any person administering naloxone “in good faith”
– Immunity from disciplinary action from licensing boards
– Right to store/dispense for free if acting under a standing order from a health care professional
Missouri does not currently have a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), though a municipality-level PDMP was created by St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
– Since March, 2016, six jurisdictions (St. Louis City, St. Charles County, St. Genevieve County, Jackson County, Kansas City, City of Independence) have adopted legislation to join County’s PDMP. Numerous other jurisdictions across Missouri are currently pursuing or considering legislation as well.
-As of August 2017, 81% of providers and 64% of Missouri citizens were covered under local PDMPs.
* For more information, visit: http://www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/PDMP
For more information on prescription drug monitoring programs, visit SAMHSA- Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: An Assessment of the Evidence for Best Practices
For legal assistance and support on overdose prevention and harm reduction, access the Network for Public Health – Drug Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction
For more information about how to get informed and get involved: