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Good Samaritan Overdose Law Passes Quickly In The Senate

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Lawmakers and advocates are applauding the speed with which the general assembly has taken up the Good Samaritan Law. The state senate voted to renew...

Lawmakers and advocates are applauding the speed with which the general assembly has taken up the Good Samaritan Law.

The state senate voted to renew the law, which provides legal protection for those calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose emergency. However, the bill does not protect those found to be delivering or selling drugs.

The law was allowed to expire last summer, much to the chagrin of health advocates, who say it has saved countless lives. In a statement, Governor Gina Raimondo commended the Senate, saying the state’s response to the overdose crisis should foremost be focused on saving lives.

The Rhode Island ACLU and the Rhode Island medical society also weighed in, calling the drug overdose epidemic a medical issue, which should not fall solely to law enforcement to deal with.

Some law enforcement officials, including the Attorney General have voiced concern in the past that the law could negatively impact their ability to fight the drug epidemic.

A companion bill is working its way through the House.

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Public health advocates are cheering the initial passage of the reinstatment of the so-called Good Samaritan Law
Public health advocates are cheering the initial passage of the reinstatment of the so-called Good Samaritan Law