Advocates seek expansion of immunity in overdose cases

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health advocates are calling on lawmakers to pass a bill that would offer additional protections to people who seek emergency medical help when someone has overdosed.

The current law provides immunity from prosecution for drug possession if people call for help, even if drugs are found at the scene, but they could be charged with delivery or sale of drugs.

Protect Families First Executive Director Rebecca Nieves McGoldrick said Monday the expansion would grant immunity from drug-related charges. The nonprofit organization says everyone should feel safe calling 911.

The Senate passed the expanded bill, but the House Judiciary Committee removed the additional protections. The House votes on that version Tuesday.

North Kingstown Democrat Robert Craven, who sponsored the bill, says an amendment re-adding the protections will be introduced.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin opposes the expanded immunity.

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