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Good Samaritan Overdose Law, Made Permanent, Signed Into Law

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State lawmakers gathered for the signing of the newly reinstated Good Samaritan Overdose Law. The law expired last summer, much to the chagrin of public...

State lawmakers gathered for the signing of the newly reinstated Good Samaritan Overdose Law. The law expired last summer, much to the chagrin of public health advocates.

The law protects people who call 911 for someone who's overdosing from being arrested.

Going forward the law will protect people from being charged for drug possession or use, and from being picked up for violating probation.

Lawmakers put an expiration date on the original bill passed in 2012 in case it conflicted with law enforcement.

The General Assembly passed the new legislation swiftly, at the start of the 2016 session.

And in an about-face, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin gave support for the legislation, after failing to renew it at the end of the previous session.

Advocates say the drug overdose epidemic is a public health issue, not a law enforcement one, and that the emphasis should be on treatment rather than jail time.

 

Governor Gina Raimondo signs the Good Samaritan bill into law at the Anchor Recovery Community Center in Pawtucket, RI.
Governor Gina Raimondo signs the Good Samaritan bill into law at the Anchor Recovery Community Center in Pawtucket, RI.