(a) West Virginia currently has the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths in West Virginia has increased by over six hundred percent. Similarly, the age-adjusted death rate from alcohol-related overdoses has significantly increased in West Virginia, and throughout the United States, in the past ten years.

Terms Used In West Virginia Code 16-47-2

  • Emergency medical assistance: means medical services provided to a person who may be experiencing an overdose by a health care professional licensed, registered or certified under chapter thirty or chapter sixteen of this code acting within his or her lawful scope of practice. See West Virginia Code 16-47-3
  • Overdose: means an acute condition, including, but not limited to, life-threatening physical illness, coma, mania, hysteria or death, which is the result of the consumption or use of a controlled substance or alcohol. See West Virginia Code 16-47-3

(b) The Legislature finds it is in the public interest to encourage citizens to intervene in drug and alcohol overdose situations by seeking potentially life-saving emergency medical assistance for others without fear of being subject to certain criminal penalties.