Landrigan: NH lawmakers consider immunity for those who report drug overdoses
CONCORD - Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in New Hampshire.
That's why lawmakers here are considering a bill that would let someone report it to law enforcement and not face criminal prosecution.
There are 22 states that give this immunity for someone calling 911.
But in New Hampshire the state's police chiefs are against it, saying this guarantee would prevent addicts from getting the treatment they need to kick the drug habit.
"I think this does make sense on some level but we need to get people into treatment and sometimes the only way we can do that is through the criminal justice system,'' said Enfield Police Chief Richard Crate, the president of the Association of New Hampshire Police Chiefs.
The senate has until May to decide whether to pass this bill. It's already been approved by the house.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, said House supporters agree with her there should be changes to the bill to narrow its focus.
Carson said the definitions in the bill should ensure, for example, that the immunity for reporting the overdose doesn't extend to other acts at the scene such as sexual assault of the drug user.