Rhode Island House passes good Samaritan bill

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island House of Representatives has unanimously voted to renew an expired good Samaritan bill that protects drug users from prosecution if they seek medical help when someone is overdosing.

The state Senate passed an identical bill earlier this month.

Both chambers must now approve each other’s bills before they are sent to Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, who has supported renewing the law that expired in July.

Top law enforcement officers and the state attorney general also have supported the bill they describe as a life-saving measure. It gives immunity for possessing but not delivering drugs and exempts from liability anyone who provides overdose-reversing medical treatment.

House Judiciary Chairman Cale Keable, a Burrillville Democrat, said Rhode Island is facing an opioid epidemic that stretches from its cities to suburbs.

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