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Mothers of overdose victims raise awareness of Good Samaritan law

October 3, 2018

The Good Samaritan Law has been around for years, but families of overdose victims say not enough people know about it.

The law helps protect people who call 911 on an overdose victim and protects the victim from legal repercussions.

Two mothers of overdose victims said it’s possible their sons would still be alive if their friends knew about the law.

“My son Sean lost his life last June, on June 4th,” said Mary O’Donnell.

“My son Boone Cummins died about six weeks later,” said Julie Cummins.

Both teenagers were friends. Both mothers are now suffering from loss they never imagined.

“He was out at the quarry drinking with some friends,”O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell was told her son passed out and was left behind. The official cause of death is drowning.

Boone Cummins was pulled from Sugar Lake after he disappeared. His mother said an overdose took her son first.

“Unfortunately, he had a lot of benzodiazepine, Xanax in his system,” she said.

In both cases, no one called for help.

“A lot of times, teens are more afraid of getting in trouble with parents or law enforcement,” Cummins said.

That’s why the Good Samaritan Law exists. It allows people to call 911 about an overdose victim, and it protects the caller and the victim from charges for underage drinking and drug possession.

“No one is aware of it,” O’Donnell said. “And that was something that we had to go fix.”

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has good reason for getting the message out.

“It’s something very personal for me,” said Lt. Sara Pack. “I was on scene for both Sean O’Donnell’s recovery and Boone Cummins’ recovery.”

O’Donnell, Julie Cummins and the sheriff’s office have collaborated to create a Good Samaritan public service announcement, a message these mothers believe would have made all the difference.

“We’ve been told young people would have called for this help if this law existed,” Cummins said.

“I believe Sean would have been here today — and should be here today,” O’Donnell said.

The families are now working to get the Good Samaritan Law taught in high schools and driver’s education classes.

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