WKYT Investigates: The problems with Kentucky's Good Samaritan Law

PULASKI CO., Ky. (WKYT) - Jerry Price grew up with his mom and dad on a farm in Pulaski County. He died this summer from a drug overdose at age 34. "Even though people do drugs, it doesn't mean they are the worst people in the world. They just need help," explained Price's mom, Samantha.

Price said her son struggled with drug abuse for years. His toxicology report showed fentanyl in his system that was eleven times the therapeutic level. "I feel guilty," Price cried. "Whether anybody knew anything was wrong with him, I should have. I think all the time, what could I have done different?"

Price believes her son's life could have been saved by a new Kentucky law. "He was lying curled up in the back seat." She said there were people with Price when he overdosed. "They just drove him around. They drove for three or four hours with him like that instead of dropping him off."

The Good Samaritan Law was meant to give a pass to people who witness an overdose. They can get help for the victim without facing any punishment for possession of a small amount of drugs or paraphernalia.

Rockcastle County Sheriff Mike Peters said the Good Samaritan Law could have saved Price's life. "It's my understanding from the information that we have at this point that possibly as many as three hospitals were passed where he could have been helped," Peters said.

Peters believes most people don't know the law exists, and if they do, they probably wouldn't trust it. "I think a lot of people still think it's a trap. They're going to catch me so I don't want to."

"Is it going to work in every situation? Of course not," said Van Ingram, director of the state's Office of Drug Control Policy. "No law works in every situation. It's a tool. It's another tool we've put out there to save lives." Ingram believes the law, which took effect in the Spring of 2015, part of SB 192, hasn't had time to sink in. "If you look at Cincinnati, that has a similar law, and had 123 overdoses in a very short period of time, only three of which were fatal, people are calling."

For Price, no one helped. Reports said his wallet was missing when he was found. "As to what mindset, why they wouldn't stop, I can't tell you," Peters said.

Price's mom reflected, "I know he done drugs. I know he done that. But they took the choice away from him when they didn't try to get him help."

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