Montgomery County’s initiative 'Speak up, Save a Life' aims to help students amid fentanyl crisis

Students at a Montgomery County high school will learn the hard facts of the deadly fentanyl crisis from the County's top prosecutor.

The message: Speak up, Save a Life.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy will be speaking to Rockville high school students Monday following what he calls a textbook case of doing the right thing.

Earlier this month, a Quince Orchard High School student was able to step in and help save the life of a fellow student who overdosed in a bathroom at a McDonald's across the street from the school during a lunch break.

The student called for help and first responders administered Narcan quickly.

McCarthy says the student who helped will be protected by Maryland's Good Samaritan Law. He said the law protects people assisting in an emergency overdose situation from arrest, as well as prosecution, for certain crimes.

"I'm making a pact with these kids. I'm not looking to lock kids up. I'm not looking to prosecute kids. I'm looking for kids who are uniquely going to be in a position in a very brief period of time when there's a window to save someone's life," McCarthy said. "Speak up, save a life and I'm making a pledge to those kids that under the Good Samaritan doctrine, I'm not going to prosecute them."

McCarthy said the student who made the call to save the life of a fellow student had just attended a Speak up, Save a Life assembly.

Officials say the number of drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths in Maryland increased in 2020, reaching an all-time high of 2, 799 deaths – an 8% increase over the number of deaths (2, 379) in 2019.

More information on the Speak up, Save a Life program and Good Samaritan Law facts are available online.