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Thursday, April 5, 2007

NM Passes Law to Prevent Prosecution of Drug Users Seeking Treatment For OD

From NYTimes.com: Struggling with an epidemic of drug fatalities, New Mexico has enacted a groundbreaking law providing immunity from prosecution for people who come forward to help drug users suffering overdoses.

The act, signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Bill Richardson, prevents the authorities from prosecuting on the basis of evidence “gained as a result of the seeking of medical assistance.”

It also protects drug users themselves from prosecution if the process of seeking help for an overdose provides the only evidence against them.

The legislation, which was popularly known as the 911 Good Samaritan bill, is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a statement yesterday, Mr. Richardson, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, said: “I have always been committed to prevention and rehabilitation of drug users. If we can encourage people to save themselves or others from a drug-related death or trauma, then we should do that. This bill will encourage families and friends of addicts to seek medical care and prevent their loved one from dying.”  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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