Alberta RCMP say several overdose deaths in this province might have been prevented if bystanders, friends or family members had called for help sooner.

Mounties say of the over 1,900 overdose deaths in the past three years, many cases involved witnesses who were hesitant to call emergency services for fear of legal repercussions.

Corporal Laurel Scott says the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act can protect people from possession charges and the consequences of breaching conditions as well as other offences.

She says the message here is that “it’s far more important to the RCMP that we come and save a life with our emergency partners than worry about laying a charge against a bystander.”

The Act applies to anyone seeking emergency assistance during an overdose including the person in need of medical help.