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As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; Israel and Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in a last-minute deal; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

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An expulsion vote looms for Rep. George Santos, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuits against district maps and the Supreme Court hears a case which could cut the power of federal agencies.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

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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