New Laws Contains Immunity Measures For Drug Overdoses
Governor Peter Shumlin signed a group of bills Wednesday designed to crack down on prescription drug abuse and related crimes. But the measures don’t focus on increased penalties for drug abusers, in fact, quite the opposite. Instead, the so-called “Good Samaritan” law makes Vermont just the 13th state in the nation to offer limited immunity from prosecution to people reporting a potentially deadly drug overdose.
A new law also changes standards for doctors who consult the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System, and creates a pilot program for a drug said to help reverse opiate overdoses.
Bob Bick, the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the Howard Center in Burlington, was at the bill signing yesterday.
Bick says these bills represent a significant, but at the same time small step forward in helping prevent drug abuse.
“We’ve recognized we’ve got a major opiate addiction problem in this state, that’s a big first step. We’re taking a number of smaller steps her at actualize how we address that problem in a compassionate way.”
The law requires physicians to enroll in the prescription drug monitoring program.