Colorado bill aims to encourage overdose reporting

6:52 PM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
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A bill giving limited criminal immunity to people who report overdoses passed another test Thursday in the Colorado Legislature.

It cleared a committee by a vote of 9-2.

Lawmakers on the panel rejected an amendment backed by prosecutors that would have weakened it.

Illinois and Washington state already have so-called "911 Good Samaritan" laws giving limited immunity to overdose reporters.

Advocates say drug users sometimes don't report overdosing friends because they're afraid of facing legal trouble themselves.

Colorado's measure would require overdose reporters to remain at the scene of the event until law enforcement or emergency medical personnel arrive.

They would also have to identify themselves and cooperate with authorities.

"Whether [the bill] could have saved my Russ, that I'll never know," Ruth Harris, who lost her son to prescription drug overdose, said. "But I'm here to support it for those people who it can save. Those people won't be afraid anymore to make that call."

The bill has already passed the Senate and now will need to pass a vote of the House in order to reach the governor's desk.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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