Saving a life shouldn’t be a crime. But this is the current reality for Mainers who witness or experience an overdose.

Under current Maine law, 911 callers seeking to aid someone experiencing an overdose (including themselves) can face criminal charges for nonviolent crimes and probation or bail condition violations.

The potential for criminal charges decreases the likelihood that those witnessing or experiencing an overdose will seek life-saving medical intervention. That’s why we need lawmakers to support L.D. 1862, which would fix these loopholes in our Good Samaritan law and empower more people to call for help.

A study released last March by the federal Government Accountability Office showed lower overdose rates after the enactment of Good Samaritan laws, and other studies have shown that people aware of Good Samaritan laws are more likely to call 911 in emergency situations. L.D. 1862 is a powerful, practical tool that Maine lawmakers should support to combat the overdose death epidemic.

Chris Burke
Cape Elizabeth

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