Overdose Law Protects Good Samaritans

Del. law offers immunity in reporting overdoses

Legislation encouraging people in Delaware to report alcohol and drug overdoses without fear of being prosecuted is about to become law.

The so-called Good Samaritan bill was to be signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jack Markell after winning unanimous approval in both the House and Senate.

Under the bill, a person reporting an overdose would be immune from prosecution for certain drug crimes even if he or she has been involved in drug-related activity.

The bill also grants immunity from prosecution for offenses related to underage drinking.

Lawmakers approved the bill only after exempting higher level drug felonies from its immunity protections, a change that critics said seriously weakens the bill and will discourage reporting.

A similar bill is already law in New York. That law was put into effect last year after rocker Jon Bon Jovi’s daughter, Stephanie Bongiovi, overdosed on heroin while attending college in Upstate New York. Charges were dropped against both Bongiovi and her friend that reported her overdose.

New Jersey also recently passed similar overdose reporting legislation -- a ceremony that was attended by the rocker.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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