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Good Samaritan Bill Meant to Save Lives

There’s nothing scarier than seeing someone overdose on drugs. The only thing to make it worse is if you’re too afraid a call for help will incriminate you – or them.

Right now, New Hampshire legislators are working to provide protection to anyone who calls in a drug or alcohol-related emergency. Informally called the Good Samaritan Bill, this nark protection bill will enable police and other emergency workers to save lives that otherwise might have been lost.

It comes in response to an increase in deaths due to overdose – rising to 37,000 deaths annually. More often than not, those who overdose do so in the presence of other people. Whether at a college kegger, or in your parents’ garage while experimenting with alcohol or drugs – whatever the situation, legislators hope to encourage more 911 calls by offering protection to those who call for help and those for whom the call is made.

This follows suit with nine other states which have passed similar bills. New Hampshire’s bill is unique in its provision for alcohol-related calls, however. This is especially helpful in light of young people who may otherwise be too ashamed to call.

The focus of this bill, according to former State Representative Jenn Coffey, is to save lives, not incarcerate drug criminals. She is one of the strongest supporters of this bill, which is similar to other legislation she supported while serving in the House.

The protection is only limited, however, and would not extend to protect those who already have warrants raised against them, as was the case in 2011 when a 37-year-old man drove his friend, who had overdosed on heroine, to safety before calling 911. When the police arrived, it was discovered that the caller had a warrant for his arrest. In this situation, the law would not be able to protect him from incarceration.

Other limitations restrict amnesty to those who’ve provided alcohol to underage drinkers and for those who are selling illegal drugs.


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