Yojo (stealthymonkey) wrote in little_details,

legal consequences of overdose

Alright, I searched, I used my best educated guess, and I even asked a lawyer (who's not a medicolegal lawyer). I try to post more answers on here than questions, but the collective hive mind might be my last hope.
Setting is mid 1990's United States (Chicago, IL)
Googled many combos of the following: overdose legal respons*, heroin overdose,  nonlethal, emergency room report*, legal , police involve*, etc.

My character has experienced a head injury with LOC and is taken the the ER for treatment. His overdose is a secondary finding at the ER. I know that ERs are legally obligated to report certain things, so I am assuming that a cop would be by to take a statement from the Dr. and from whoever accompanied the patient (patient is out cold). Since the injury happened in a public place (onstage in a club) maybe a cop was the first responder to the 911 call.

The character's cronies have searched his belongings and taken away any drugs or paraphrenalia, so the only heroin 'in possession' is in the guy's veins. Is there still a police report? Is it still obligatory for the ER to report drug 'use' in this case? Or is it simply a matter of record on the chart? If so, (lawyer friend as assured me of this part) there would be no case. Probably just a hearing where the character would be called to stand in court (albeit wobbly) but the judge would have to throw this out due to lack of evidence.

Does anyone know what the proceedure would be? I know ERs at least in Chicago (assumably many US urban areas) have to report things like gunshot wounds, drug-muling, rape (well, they have to give the option), and child abuse-- anything like that where the evidence is *in* or *on* the body for extended periods of time, but do they have to report a nonlethal overdose with no other signs of possession?

It's crucial to the plot, or I wouldn't ask. Thanks for any insight you might have to offer.
Tags: ~medicine: overdose

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