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25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

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House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

NC Families, Advocates Demand Expansion of Good Samaritan Laws

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Monday, July 10, 2023   

As North Carolina faces an increasing number of overdose-related deaths, there are new calls urging the state to update and expand its Good Samaritan law.

More than 4,000 fatal overdoses were reported last year in North Carolina and the latest numbers show almost 400 deaths, in May alone, this year.

So, Randy Abbott - North Carolina outreach director with the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse - said he is pushing for improved legislation along with other advocates and parents.

He cited the loss of his daughter in 2015 as one heartbreaking example of the need.

"The group she was with at a small party panicked and they did not call 911 immediately," said Abbott. "We later found out that, you know, from the time they dialed 911 to the time someone was on scene was just a matter of less than two or three minutes."

Some proposed changes to strengthen North Carolina's Good Samaritan law include expanding immunity for drug possession broadly - without confusing carve-outs for specific substances or amounts.

The law could also provide protection from arrest, and ensure that those calling for help in good faith won't face so-called "Death by Distribution" charges.

But Senate Bill 458 didn't make the crossover to the House in the latest legislative session. Abbott emphasized the need for continued advocacy for broader protection.

"People cannot be confused, right?" said Abbott. "They need to know, ' Hey, if I call 911 and I've got fentanyl in my possession or I've got cocaine or I've got meth or I've got paraphernalia or weed.' It doesn't matter - you're going to be protected if you're saving someone's life."

Advocates also want an expanded law to encompass students at college who contact campus security for an individual who may be suffering an overdose, to offer protection to anyone providing aid during drug- or alcohol-related emergencies.




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