A person posessing or under the influence of illicit drugs, but who helps ensure an individual suffering from a drug overdose gets medical help, wouldn't face any prosecution under a legislative bill.
A person possessing or under the influence of illicit drugs, but who helps ensure an individual suffering from a drug overdose gets medical help, wouldn't face any prosecution under a legislative measure.
The "Mississippi Medical Emergency Good Samaritan Act" has passed the Senate and has been passed in the House Judiciary B Committee. It is awaiting full House action.
State Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, who authored the bill, said the Mississippi Prosecution Association supports it.
Senate Bill 2780 says any person who in good faith seeks medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a drug overdose shall not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted for a drug violation if there is evidence the person is under the influence of a controlled substance or in possession of a controlled substance.
It also says the person who is experiencing a drug overdose and, in good faith, seeks medical assistance or is the subject of a request for medical assistance shall not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted for a drug violation if there is evidence the person is under the influence of a controlled substance or in possession of a controlled substance.
The person also wouldn't be subject to penalties for a violation of a permanent or temporary protective order or restraining order; sanctions for a violation of a condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole based on a drug violation; or forfeiture of property for a drug violation, with the exception of illegal drug.
"This would allow someone to take you to the hospital or seek emergency assistance without fear of prosecution," said House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton. "I think it's a good bill."
But some senators have raised concerns about the bill, including Rep. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, who wondered what would happen if authorities were called and found a pound of cocaine.
A person with a pound of cocaine would be considered a drug trafficker and the proposed law wouldn't be applicable, bill supporters said. The bill would apply to those with four grams or less of cocaine or 30 grams or less of marijuana.
If the bill passes, it would take effect July 1.
Jimmie E. Gates, The Clarion-Ledger
March 7, 2015
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