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TN General Assembly expands protections for overdose victims

The General Assembly this week approved Republican legislation meant to further encourage individuals to seek medical treatment for an overdose.  House Bill 75 extends criminal immunity, at the discretion of law enforcement or the district attorney, to anyone experiencing a second or subsequent drug overdose and is seeking medical assistance.

“When an individual survives a drug overdose, they have an opportunity to seek treatment or other recovery support efforts from the disease of addiction,” said bill co-sponsor State Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin. “They can repair relationships and make a positive impact on their community.”

Anyone seeking medical assistance for themselves or a person experiencing an overdose should not be arrested, charged or prosecuted for a drug violation as a result of seeking help under current law. However, the immunity only applies to individuals who are experiencing their first overdose. House Bill 75 would provide the opportunity for additional immunity.

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The legislation will now go to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law. It will take effect July 1.

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