ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Just hours before St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed a bill Friday to make it easier for people to report heroin users, Slay reported one himself.
Slay signed the Good Samaritan Law on Friday morning, giving people immunity from prosecution if they call 911 to report someone suffering a drug overdose.
The legislation is called the ‘Good Samaritan Law,’ but little did Mayor Slay know he would play the role of a Good Samaritan himself when he called police to report someone using drugs next to his house.
The mayor noticed a pick-up truck parked next door in the 3800 block of Robert. The vehicle had its lights on and the engine running. He admitted not to thinking too much about it at the time.
“I thought it was just somebody who was tired or drinking too much and was taking a little bit of a nap,” Slay said.
But when the mayor checked again about half an hour later, he knew something was wrong and called the police.
“I was trying to get around a get a license plate, just to make sure in case the guy left before the cops got there, and I was able to get a shot through my bathroom window of the license plate and that is when I saw the guy slumped over the wheel,” Slay said.
When police responded, they found a 41-year-old man barely conscious with a syringe in his hand and three more in the truck.
And while the timing may seem like a coincidence, Slay said that given the increasing number of people overdosing on opiates, it’s not that surprising, even if it was just hours before he signed the law.
“You can call in, you can save a life,” Slay said. “We didn’t want the laws to be a barrier to saving a life. We know there are too many situations where someone is afraid to call because they are afraid of the consequences.”
However, Mayor Slay pointed out that the Good Samaritan Law does not grant immunity in cases where it`s discovered the person who called is a drug dealer.