Pathways to Racial Disparities in the Effects of Good Samaritan Laws: A Mixed Methods Study
Funded by: NYU Langone Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy
Project dates: May 2021 - April 2022
Principal Investigator: Townsend, Tarlise
Co-Investigator: Pamplin JR, II
Overdose Good Samaritan Laws (GSLs) aim to reduce mortality by providing limited legal immunity for low-level drug violations when a person calls 911 at an overdose event. However, barriers to 911-calling remain; given a documented past and present of racism in policing and drug policy, these barriers may be greater in Black people than in white people. In this mixed methods pilot study, primary survey data were collected from a cohort of approximately 350 people who use illicit opioids in New York City. In-depth interviews were conducted with a subset of 40 Black and white members of that cohort to illuminate potential pathways to racial disparities in the effectiveness of Good Samaritan Laws. This research is guided by a Community Advisory Board comprised of people with relevant lived and professional experience.