AMCNO Provides Testimony in Support of HB 249 – Drug Overdoses

Dr. Joan Papp—an AMCNO member, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center, and the Medical Director for Cuyahoga County Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone)—recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 249 – Drug Overdoses. The bill would provide immunity for the individual summoning emergency medical services as well as the overdose victim from minor drug possession charges. It would not provide immunity for other offenses such as drug trafficking or driving under the influence of drugs.  

She noted that over the past few years there has been strong support for the passage of HB 170 and HB 4, which allow increased access to the antidote to opioid overdose, naloxone. Contained within this legislation is a mandate to activate EMS in the event of an overdose when administering naloxone. She stated that while this provision is vital to overdose response, without protection from arrest this mandate may go unheeded by those responding to overdose.

Ohio is not the first state to consider and adopt legislation similar to House Bill 249. In fact, 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted 911 Good Samaritan laws that provide limited immunity and arrest from prosecution. These laws protect the caller and overdose victim from arrest and or prosecution for simple drug possession, possession of paraphernalia and or being under the influence of drugs.

The AMCNO also submitted written testimony in support of the legislation. Click here to view a copy of it.

Photos from the Statehouse can be found on the AMCNO Twitter feed and Facebook page.

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